Published on October 11th, 2013 | by Allan Brown13
Movie Review: FILTH (2013)
Duration: 97 min
Director: Jon S. Baird
Writers: Jon S. Baird (screenplay), Irvine Welsh (novel)
Cast: James McAvoy, Imogen Poots, Iain De Caestecker, Joanne Froggatt, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Jim Broadbent, Shirley henderson, Kate Dickie
Plot: Bruce Robsertson is a bipolar, foul mouthed, villainous, sex fiend who when not snorting a cloud of narcotics up is nose, is bullying his way up the chain of command in a bid to secure a promotion in his chosen career, a detective for Edinburgh’s Lothian & Borders Police constabulary.
Scottish Writer/Director Jon S. Barid explores Irvine Welsh’s depraved vision in an adaptation of his 1997 novel, Filth. Baird astutely embraces all the novels appal and vices, throwing them up on screen with shameless delight and all for the audiences viewing
displeasure. But after welsh’s two previously disappointing adaptations (The Acid House – 1998 and Ecstasy – 2011), does FILTH come close to making the impact Trainspotting accomplished in 1996?
Set in the murky world of Edinburgh’s constabulary, our story is that of Bruce Robertson, a bipolar, misogynistic, sex obsessed, alcohol and narcotics fiend, who just so happens to be a Detective Sergeant for Edinburgh’s Lothian and Borders finest. When the lucrative position of Detective Inspector becomes available, Bruce eager to work his way up the chain of command (largely to impress his wife) is pit against his fellow man in a bid to secure the post. And thus starts Bruce’s game-plan, to quickly turn one against another, spreading salacious lies, gossip and using every manipulation technique at his disposal, in a brutish attempt to grab the position he sees as his.
This all takes place in the lingering shadow of an on-going murder investigation, one that may just expose more than initially anticipated.
Does Filth come close to making the impact Trainspotting accomplished in 1996?
Here in Britain the term FILTH is attached and has urbanised into several vernacular meanings. Not only is it widely used to describe utter depravity, but is also a common slang term for the Police.
And thus is where credit must be given to writer/director Jon S. Baird. Not only has he had the guile to take on an Irvine Welsh novel, which is very specific in its Language, tone and characters, but have the grit to stick to his guns, choosing not to tone down the adaptation to reach a wider audience. Instead he chose to dive straight into Welsh’s novel with both feet, fixed on retaining the integrate of the Welsh’s vision. The results transpire as a perfect blend of comedic darkness and vulgarity which translates to screen quite beautifully.
Everyone knows that nobody quite writes characters like Irvine Welsh and the cast that Baird has assembled for FILTH is as close to perfection as it comes. Not one bad performance for duff line is spouted throughout and not one performance in under par.
From the adolescent uncertainly of Ray (Jamie Bell) to the soft, fluffy and highly impressionable, Bladesey (Eddie Marsan) the pool of talent barely shows signs of stopping throughout.
However, this is James McAvoy’s film and from the very first frame he has you in the palm of his hand, commanding the screen in a mesmerizing and dynamically career best performance. McAvoy shows a range that he has rarely had the chance to show until now, convincingly turning from a dead-eyed menace one moment to a teary-eyed wreck the next. He successfully displays the layers needed to play a man struggling through life from years of angst and heartache. Gone is the boyish charm and the good guy image that has dictated his career for too many a year in my opinion. Yes, Mr Tumnus has had a few hard years in Narnia, only now emerging from the wardrobe looking more like a clone of Oliver Reed….and oh boy, is it’s a joy to watch.
Yes, Mr Tumnus has had a few hard years in Narnia, only now emerging from the wardrobe looking more like a clone of Oliver Reed….and oh boy, is it’s a joy to watch.
It could be argued that FILTH suffers from being overtly loud, obnoxious and like its lead character rather too cocksure of itself…But isn’t that perhaps the whole point?
Despite the films swagger and absolute relish for the sordid, Filth has bags of charm, energy and comedic backbone, and while its more complex subtleties and its fumbling reach at redemption are often to quiet or misplaced to hear or appreciate in the ensuing chaos, the films savage displays of ‘I don’t give a F@#K’ from its lead will likely help give Filth that must see cult quality.
Summary: Filth is likely to repel and enthral audiences in equal measure. It’s is hilarious and reckless, trashing through everything in its wake, in one exciting, vulgar and relentless thrill ride…for those who think they can stomach it, GO SEE IT!