Blu-ray Review: MDMA



Ecstasy (MDMA) is a very alluring drug. The pill gives the user an amazing sense of euphoria. When taken with the right group of people, you turn into an all night pleasure mound. And you don’t want the fun to stop until the sun comes up and burns off your roll. Of course the downside is that after such an intense feeling of bliss, you may feel really burned out for a couple of days. MDMA is a movie about the days when the drug was finally catching on with the party people in 1985.

Angie (Mi>The Leftovers‘ Annie Q.) grabs the bus for her freshman year at an elite college. Her journey is massive not so much on an educational scale, but dealing with her rich classmates. Her dorm roommate has a family credit card that just won’t stop. The guys at the nearby frat don’t drink cheap beer. Angie however comes from a family that doesn’t consider Dynasty a series about their poor cousins. Luckily her roommate Jeanine (Twin Peaks‘ Francesca Eastwood) is nice to her new pal from New Jersey. She gives her the clothes she can’t wear twice. She introduces her to the rest of the girls. She takes her home to enjoy the craziness of the rich. And most importantly she takes her to the right party where she gets introduced to ecstasy. Angie sees how the drug really opens you up. Just as her college life is beginning, she gets hit with the painful truth that her dad might not be able to keep up the tuition payments even with all her scholarships and grants. She does not want to go back to New Jersey. So she puts he smarts to work and hits the chemistry lab. She begins to produce her own MDMA pills which wasn’t too shocking at the time since it hadn’t been declared an illegal drug at that time. Very quickly she goes from an honor student to drug kingpin, but can she maintain the dual life?

MDMA is a fine biopic about the true adventure of director-writer Angie Wang. The action plays a lot deeper than a Lifetime movie of I Was A Teenage Breaking Bad. The film speaks of money, class, power and partying. Annie Q is really knows how to go from slightly out of her league to ball busting. She makes the character come alive as she puts up a brave front on anyone who thinks they can take advantage of her. Her plight isn’t the usual path as things begin to go bad. How does she go from honor student to go-go cage dancer? The movie does seem like the drug as the moments of pleasure turn into emotional zapping events. MDMA is a trip of a film that takes us back to that time when the party was just starting.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The transfer makes the trips look a bit tempting. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD and DTS-HD MA stereo. Things sound great when the Frankie Goes to Hollywood Pumps through the speakers. There’s also French subtitles.

Commentary Track features writer/director Angie Wang. She reflects on the actors and how the film reflected her real life.

Angie Wang (2:40) on working with Annie Q. Has the director discuss directing a woman playing her younger self. Annie talks of being an extension of her. She points out which rooms in her house were used for certain locations.

Francesca Eastwood (1:39) on working with Angie Wang. She likes that her character is a real pal to Angie’s character.

Authentic 80’s (1:02) deals with the hair, makeup and wardrobe that makes the film feel right.

Big Man On Campus (1:28) breaks down in staging a screen kiss.

MDMA L.A. Premiere (1:11) has the film playing at a film festival in Los Angeles

Theatrical Trailer (2:11) has the party starting and the drugs ready to drop.

Shout! Factory presents MDMA. Directed by Angie Wang. Screenplay by: Angie Wang. Starring: Annie Q, Francesca Eastwood, Elisa Donovan, Yetide Badaki and Pierson Fode. Rated: Not Rated. Running Time: 98 minutes. Released: November 13, 2018.

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