Irvine Welsh’s forays into film and television can be a little hit and miss… Trainspotting and Wedding Belles are stone-cold classics, but his directorial debut, Good Arrows, was total tripe… and the reviews for a lot of his other works are fairly discouraging too. As an anthology adaptation of three of Welsh’s published short stories, The Acid House (1998) is quite a mixed bag in itself… but it did give Michelle Gomez her first proper onscreen role, and for that we should all be very grateful.
In her segment (“A Soft Touch”), Gomez plays the unfaithful, streetwalking wife of a cuckolded husband/father (Kevin McKidd), living in a run-down flat with their bawling baby. It’s not a very flattering or glamorous debut for her, swigging from a can of Special Brew while doing her make-up, and indulging in energetic intercourse with the preening prick who moves into the flat over theirs… but it does allow her to show some proper acting chops, in both her character’s louder and quieter moments. Overall, the story’s quiet bleak and depressing… or possibly uplifting, depending on how you read the ending, I suppose.
Fun fact: In some English-speaking countries (like Canada and America) the film was screened with subtitles, to help viewers who were having trouble understanding the thick accents… and I can’t help wishing this DVD made the same concession, because Welsh’s dialogue is a lot easier to understand when it’s written down in front of your eyes, rather than whizzing past your ears!