Five Movies About MDMA

Movies About MDMA

MDMA, more commonly known as ecstasy, is a drug which has been popularized by the rave sub-culture over the past 20 years. Not as commonly featured in movies as heroin, cocaine, or LSD, it has nonetheless cropped up in a few less mainstream films. Here are five of them.

1
Go

go movie poster
Image courtesy IMDB

Go comes across as a cautionary tale, warning young people of the perils of becoming involved in the rave scene. From corrupt police officers, to immoral drug dealers, and idiotic teenagers, it is difficult to like any of the characters. Yet the brutality of some of the scenes are sickening in their lack of humanity.

The overall message of the movie is that you have to be really, really stupid to take ecstasy, and that taking it will make you even more stupid. Your friends can't be trusted, actually, no one else can be trusted, and you don't know what you are taking when you purchase drugs at a rave. Perhaps the most plausible caution is the likelihood that if you buy ecstasy at a rave, you will be spending an extortionate sum of money on what may well be an over-the-counter allergy pill.

And while the brutal attack of a girl who attempts to rip off her dealer may reflect the worst-case scenario for naive drug users, the circumstances that surround it are hard to swallow. Ditto the bizarre behavior of the corrupt police officer and his apparently sex-addicted wife.

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2
Human Traffic

Human Traffic is a British film that attempts to portray the experience of being high on ecstasy, in the context of the rave culture in the UK. It takes a non-judgemental approach to drug use, trying instead to show the reality of drug use among British young people in the 1990s.

In much the same way as another drug-related movie of the 1990s, Trainspotting, drug use is shown in the context of the depressing political reality for young people of the time, as a form of escapism from the mass unemployment and underemployment that the lead characters are faced with. Therefore, although drug use is a choice, rather than a disease, it is a choice made by people with limited choices and ways of coping with a stressful and rather depressing reality.

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3
Groove

Groove again explores ecstasy in the context of the rave scene, this time from the perspective of the San Franciso warehouse rave.

The movie is rather vacuous, although it is well paced. There is no depth to the plot, or to the characters, who range from well intentioned drug dealers, and a young man having his first -- very positive -- ecstasy experience, to a disturbingly wooden cameo appearance by legendary rave DJ and music producer, John Digweed.

Groove is an overwhelmingly positive portrayal of the heyday of the warehouse raves, in which ecstasy is portrayed as an consistently pleasurable experience for everyone who takes it. The film shows none of the negative aspects of the rave scene, or of ecstasy use or its aftermath. The film ends at the peak of the rave, so there is not any exploration of the comedown, readjustment to reality, or even the journey home.

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4
Coming Down

As the title implies, Coming Down focuses on the group experience of coming down from drugs, in particular, ecstasy, among a group of friends who have been out using drugs together.

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5
Small Town Ecstasy

Small Town Ecstasy is an obscure, disturbing, "fly-on-the-wall" documentary in which an immature and irresponsible Amercian father uses ecstasy around his teenage children. The inevitable consequences that result show that you don't have to be a teenager for drugs to ruin your life, and the lives of your family members.

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