In my second instalment of films that we should be watching which may not appear on any of the ‘all-time top 10 must-see lads’ film lists’ I will be reviewing The Acid House, directed by Paul McGuigan and adapted from the collection of stories written by the author with immense talent for dark humour, Irvine Welsh. This film chronicles the stories of Boab, Johnny and Coco in three separate tales: The Granton Star Cause, A Soft Touch and The Acid House.
Basis of the plot(s) (non-spoiler)
1. The Granton Star Cause
The Granton Star Cause tells the tale of Boab Coyle and his meeting with an entity of enormous fortitude that would change his life. Boab is a man with an easy life, he has a job with a furniture removals company, a beautiful girlfriend Evelyn, doting parents who want for nothing from Boab and a starting position on his local football team, who are challenging for a magnitude of honours.
But as his life becomes more difficult, he has a meeting over a beer at his local pub which will change everything, but for the better or for the worse?
2. A Soft Touch
A Soft Touch follows a period of change in Johnny’s life. Described as a soft touch by his mother, Johnny may just have landed on his feet. Recently married to Catriona with a new baby, a roof over their heads and a job at the supermarket, how will Johnny react when his new frenzied and maniacal neighbour Larry adds himself to the equation?
Will Johnny be able to make a stand and protect everything that is dear to him or will he forever be ‘The Soft Touch’?
3. The Acid House
Coco Bryce is a man with few simple pleasures: football, raving and drugs! Coco is definitely not ready to ‘settle down’ with Kirsty his long term girlfriend; unfortunately for Coco, this is exactly what she wants. On a night that will change Coco’s, Kirsty’s and another completely unrelated middle-class couple’s lives, will the damage caused by some particularly strong acid on a particularly dreary evening be reparable?
Having read The Acid House by Irvine Welsh, I couldn’t wait to see the film adaptation directed by Paul McGuigan. Although perhaps not three of my favourite short stories written by Welsh, The Acid House (film) does provide intensely dark yet funny justice to the original collection.
For both those who have and have not read The Acid House, the film is engaging and allows the viewer to cross from reality to fantasy with ease, allowing for comedy, shock and compassion.
My personal opinion of the compilation of shorts is that although The Granton Star Cause and The Acid House are superb adaptations, A Soft Touch is the weakest of the three. With not as much intrigue, shock or fantasy as the other two, I would have much preferred another of Welsh’s stories in its place. For the record ‘The Two Philosophers’ was always one of my favorites!
Finally, I would like to add my recommendation to read the book; you won’t be disappointed, although perhaps slightly appalled!
What I love about The Acid House
Martin Clunes – I must admit to sometimes being easily pleased. Although not a prominent part throughout the film, Martin plays the role of the middle-class husband in The Acid House and some of his interactions with others (I must refrain from saying who for fear of giving anything away) are brilliant.
The aftermath of Boab’s meeting in the pub – Although not a surprise for me as I had already read the book, I remember my initial reaction being a mix of shock, horror and laughter as the story unfolded. Brilliant!
The book – Sorry to keep crowing on about the book, but I can say without much doubt, that The Acid House is one of my all-time favorites. What the film did do was make me pick up the book again and I enjoyed reading it as much this time as I did every other time…
(3 out of 5 stars) – loses half a star for A Soft Touch
Reviews to Date