Filth 2013 – Review

Professor X-rated?Director: John S. Baird Run time: 97 mins Cast: James McAvoy, Eddie Marsan, Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell
This is considered a warm greeting in Scotland
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.
James just finished reading my X-Men: Days of Future Past review
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.

This is my Christmas face too
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.


Screenkicker Quality Index (SQI)


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  1. Such a great flick! I have no idea why it has mixed reviews when it should be considered awesome by all. McAvoy is an acting genius…one of the best young stars of this generation!


  2. My Best film of last year – as revealed in Screenkicker’s debut podcast.

    Scotsman comment was unnecessary and hurtful. You Fucking inbred Mick.


  3. Man you’ve just made super excited for this film. I’ve been seeing reviews trickle in for this for actually the past couple of months. I was totally surprised to find out that it is a new release (at least in the U.S.A. soon). I cannot wait to get to it. I love these kinds of dark, depraved kind of movies. And MacAvoy is jumping so high up my list of favorite young actors


  4. I need to see this, with a title like that it is my type of movie. 🙂 Unfortunately I can’t find it anywhere here in my city. Totally sucks, but I am excited to see it one day. Good review love it!


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