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Review: Filth

By Brooke Jackson

Filth: watch James McAvoy as drug-crazed cop - videoIf you’re easily offended by sex, drugs, pornography and alcohol abuse, stop reading now – Filth thrives on such sentiments.  If you are, however, a fan of Trainspotting, then you’re in luck – this movie is right up your alley.

From the vivid and fanciful mind of Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh comes this latest piece adapted by director, producer and screenplay writer John S. Baird (Cass, It’s a Casual Life). If you’ve read anything by Welsh, you’ll know what to expect, but it’s the stellar line-up of UK actors that makes this grotesquely inquisitive tale really spark.

Filth delves into the story of Bruce Robertson, played ceremoniously by James McAvoy (Wanted, Atonement), a mad-capped, drugged-up, bipolar and obscenely dogmatic Scottish cop whose mission is to interrogate and manipulate his co-workers and amiable best-friend Clifford Blades (Eddie Marsan) into playing his grimy “games” in an effort to reach the promotion to Detective Inspector.

Through a series of outlandish hallucinations and dream-like sequences with his deranged psychiatrist, brilliantly portrayed by Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge, Bridget Jones’s Diary), and dalliances with his partner in “crime”, young policeman Ray Lennox (Jamie Bell) and his colleague Amanda Drummond (Imogen Poots), Robertson rapidly loses his grip on reality and is absorbed into a world of violence, addiction, misanthropy, sadism, despair and guilt.

In true Welsh form, Filth is intense – both dialectically and graphically, and ill-humoured viewers will walk away utterly unimpressed.

McAvoy’s interpretation of the morally corrupt and twisted Robertson is undeniably unrivalled and the supporting cast, language and pacing add to its intriguing grittiness and “filth”.

Baird’s collaboration with Welsh is truly smart, though viewers most probably can’t help but to compare it to Trainspotting, though it could easily develop a cult following on its own.  

Filth is shocking, rude, explicit and demented, but honestly, that’s what makes it so good.

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