Time: 97 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence, offensive language, sex scenes and drug use
James McAvoy as Bruce Robertson
Jamie Bell as Ray Lennox
Eddie Marsan Clifford Blades
Imogen Poots as Amanda Drummond
Brian McCardie as Dougie Gillman
Emun Elliott as Peter Inglis
Gary Lewis as Gus Bain
John Sessions as Bob Toal
Shauna Macdonald as Carole Robertson
Jim Broadbent as Dr Rossi
Director: Jon S. Baird
Scheming Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy), a bigoted and corrupt policeman, is in line for a promotion and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Enlisted to solve a brutal murder and threatened by the aspirations of his colleagues, including Ray Lennox (Jamie Bell), Bruce sets about ensuring their ruin, right under the nose of unwitting Chief Inspector Toal (John Sessions). As he turns his colleagues against one another by stealing their wives and exposing their secrets, Bruce starts to lose himself in a web of deceit that he can no longer control. His past is slowly catching up with him, and a missing wife, a crippling drug habit and suspicious colleagues start to take their toll on his sanity.
Based on the book of the same name by Irvine Welsh, Filth lives up to its title with flying colours. The film by itself is pretty good, but it’s the performance by James McAvoy that really makes the movie. It’s not a film for the easily offended but if you are up to it, you may find yourself really liking it.
Filth for the most part follows Bruce Robertson. There are a lot of subplots (like the murder he’s assigned and getting the promotion) but for me, the main focus is Bruce’s descent. I think in terms of how Filth is marketed, it’s kind of like how In Bruges was marketed. Both looked like at first straight up comedies, when in reality both of them have dark elements to them. The comedy starts to die down at the halfway point of the movie as Bruce’s demons start reappearing in his life. Don’t get me wrong, the comedy is good when it’s there, it’s not the best dark comedy I’ve seen but it was well done. However I most captivated by the deep story and I personally like the second half more than the first. The movie can be emotionally captivating at times and it was well put together, especially the ending which was effective and really well done.
James McAvoy here gives so far the best performance of his career. Bruce Robertson at first seems like the most unlikable character ever, he’s so corrupt that he’d make Nicolas Cage in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans look like a boy scout. Despite this, McAvoy manages to convey many emotional moments and moments of empathy for this, at times reprehensible character. Without spoiling anything, Bruce Robertson has a lot of issues, all which are shown in the movie. So much of this movie relies on the main character, and James McAvoy managed to do really well in this. Other cast members like Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent, Eddie Marsan and Imogen Poots are also great in their scenes and do great jobs to stand out.
The movie looks great and it is neatly edited together. A lot of the film is seen from Bruce’s perspective, so it helps that the whole movie is narrated by James McAvoy. Also, as time goes on, Bruce starts hallucinating things, sometimes he looks in a mirror and sees a pig, at one point he sees a tapeworm creature. These images I felt were surprisingly when they appeared and were well done as we see what Bruce sees. The soundtrack is also well put together, whether it be Clint Mansell’s score or other music put into it.
For first time director Jon S. Baird, Filth was pretty good. It is definitely not for everyone, its main character may turn some people off and it does have some lurid content. Even if you’re not certain whether or not to watch it, it’s worth watching it for the well put together character of Bruce Robertson and acting by James McAvoy.