It might take a small leap of faith, dear reader, but there was a time when Irvine Welsh was the great white hope of British literature. These were the sunny days of Cool Britannia, the bright dawn of New Labour and Welsh was the satirising Scot biting worse than his (not inconsiderable) bark. Blame Danny Boyle, Ewan McGregor and the perfect storm that was the film adaptation of Trainspotting. Another adaptation was made for the screen from a book of Welsh's short stories in its aftermath, the less-than-popular The Acid House. If you don't know who Irvine Welsh is now, I wouldn't be surprised.
This Friday sees the release of the third adaptation from an Irvine Welsh story, this time his short The Undefeated, from the best-selling anthology of novellas Ecstasy, comes Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy. First-time director Rob Heydon knows which way his bread is buttered. The story sees a romance bloom between dealer Lloyd and housewife Heather. The x of the title representing that which is at once illicit, seductive and alluring. Is the chemistry that Lloyd and Heather share a love for each other, or are they simply drugged into believing it?
There are many, many things wrong (both practically and morally) with making and marketing a movie anchored by drugs; it's a pretty crass way of doing things, and thankfully it hasn't been seen much since the late 90s/early 2000s (and, to be fair, a lot of its culprits, were cut-price imitators of Trainspotting) but Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy brings us a reminder of some of the writer's best work. There are revelatory moments that are expressed with a clarity that is uncommon for a film of its kind, it puts up a good fight for its own existence, and it might actually just surprise you.
Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy is on general release from Friday, 20 April.