Director: John S. Baird
Run time: 97 mins
Cast: James McAvoy, Eddie Marsan, Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell
Filth is in the same category as Snakes on a Plane for ‘movies with a title that describes it perfectly’. Filth, the film, is complete filth. Drugs, murder, racism, prostitution, its all in the mix, yet Filth, through great writing and an amazing central performance doesn't just rely on shock value alone.Based on the Irvine Welsh novel of the same name, it tells the story of detective Bruce Roberston (James McAvoy) an immoral detective with his eye on a big promotion to the post of Inspector. Much like my usual winter we get to spend Christmas in Edinburgh with Bruce as he begins his slide into madness and despair. By the way Edinburgh looks gorgeous in the winter with director John S. Baird setting scenes in some of its most scenic locations including Edinburgh Castle and the Grassmarket. It creates a nice contrast with the horrible subject matter and the dread that slowly builds as Bruce becomes more and more unhinged.
Bruce is a horrible, horrible Scotsman (is there any other kind?) who spends the film hurting people, ingesting a ton of drugs, having weird choke sex, and anonymously harassing his best friend’s wife over the phone. Somehow though over the course of the movie you begin to like and in some ways understand Bruce and why he does these things. OK, ‘like’ is a strong word, its more that you become more sympathetic to his plight.Is he evil? Crazy? Nihilistic? These are questions that you’ll be asking and thanks to an incredibly brave performance from James McAvoy its a journey that is always entertaining even when it travels into the darkest of places.
Doesn't sound very funny does it? Well you’re wrong, as Filth is frequently hilarious albeit in the darkest ways possible. Watching a man who doesn’t care about anyone or anything and just does the things that make him smile is strangely compelling even when you find what he does abhorrent.
Its McAvoy’s portrayal of Bruce that helps gloss over many of the weaker aspects of the movie though. The production values at first appear low giving it more of television show aesthetic and a few of the supporting performances are weak however this doesn’t impact on overall enjoyment.
If you’re a fan of McAvoy and like the idea of Taggart meets Bad Lieutentant but with horrific farmyard hallucinations then you’re in luck. Filth is shocking, disgusting, funny, and intoxicating. Like Bruce himself there’s a lot of good in there hidden under the dirt and grime that you’ll have a lot of fun finding.
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