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Movie Review: Filth

May 12, 2017

I was debating whether or not to review this to be honest. If you had asked me about this film straight after I saw it on Sunday night, I would’ve given you some snarly one sentence summation of my thoughts on it. However, on reflection I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘Filth’ is in fact a work of brilliance that I implore you to check out.

I think my initial frustration with the movie immediately after viewing it lay with the fact that it seemed a wildly OTT tale with these very real and serious moments interspersed that are somehow meant to anchor the film in reality. The marketing for this movie hasn’t helped in this respect as it portrays the film to be a wildly hedonistic tale of violence, drugs, alcohol and sex. To an extent, this is true but there’s so much more going on here below the surface. On reflection, this isn’t a horrifically exaggerated tale of excess but rather the very sad tale of one man’s loss and subsequent inability to deal with it. The man in question is Edinburgh cop Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy), a truly detestable and wholly unlovable character upon first glimpse. Roughly framed around a Japanese student’s murder and Robertson’s attempts to gain promotion within the police ranks, the movie features a whole host of familiar British talent (Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Jim BroadbentPollyanna McIntosh). This film is all about James McAvoy though. I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of his, but he throws himself fully into this role and is incredible to watch. Much like Robertson himself, this may have seemed like a dirty, low-down role that was beyond any redemption, but McAvoy absolutely makes it his own. Sure, he’s an absolute bastard; but he is also a victim. While it might be a stretch to say you’ll sympathise with him, you’ll definitely leave this film feeling something and that’s all too rare an occurrence these days.

I’m not familiar with Irvine Welsh’s source novel, nor can I say I’ve ever been a massive fan of his work but I don’t think this effected my enjoyment of Jon S. Baird’s film at all. It really is one of the best things I’ve seen so far this year. Sure, there were walk-outs in the screening I attended, but a movie where the main character catches under-age head amongst other scumbag deeds is bound to cause that. There’s a gut-punch ending in there that will mess you up too. Basically, just stop reading this garbage and go and watch it today

9.5 cocaine & chip suppers / 10

By SeanM

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