6.5 out of 10
Release Date: 4th October 2013
Director: Jon S. Baird (Cass)
Cast: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Imogen Poots, Martin Compston, Joanne Froggatt, Shauna Macdonald, John Sessions, Shirley Henderson, Emun Elliott, Kate Dickie, Gary Lewis, Brian McCardie, Iain De Caestecker, Joy McAvoy, Bobby Rainsbury, Pollyanna McIntosh with David Soul and Jim Broadbent
Writer: Irvine Welsh
This is the best Irvine Welsh film adaptation since Trainspotting. Whilst it’s still very good the source material was still a minor work compared to his most famous book / film. The only other films to my knowledge have been the wayward anthology The Acid House and the truly abysmal Ecstasy, so competition hasn’t been strong. Filth is still a solidly played yet utterly depraved slide through the gutters of hipsterdom-meets-grit. As good as it is, I’m afraid Irvine Welsh‘s stories are a bit old hat – the book was written in 1998, and it appears to be set in the late 90s too, so why now? Who’s it for?
James McAvoy (TRANCE) play Edinburgh-based Police detective, Bruce Robertson who’s as perverted, corrupted and as deviant as it is humanly possible to be. A highly functioning addict, he eventually hits critical mass when a Japanese student is murdered by a local gang of twats lead by Martin Compston (SOULBOY). He also has the added pressure of being considered for promotion to chief inspector by his oblivious boss, played by John Sessions (PRINCESS CARABOO) whilst being forced to solve the riddle of fellow Mason, Eddie Marsan’s (X+Y) problem. His wife Shirley Henderson (WONDERLAND) is being plagued by a filthy phone caller. How this all ties in is told in deft and entertaining strokes. It is one of those films that is bound to dazzle and revolt in equal measure.
James McAvoy brings to life one of literatures most vile creatures with aplomb. He’s thoroughly dislikeable and convincing, putting in his most committed and unusual film performance to date, whilst pulling this off, he also loads his interpretation with depth, emotion and real pain. So whilst the gallows humour works very well, you never lose sight of the tragedy and horror that drive this characters quest to reach the very depths of depravity. Exploiting the weak like a teenger exploits a McCheese Burger he is a truly unstoppable monster who deserves his comeuppance, yet somehow you always find yourself congratulating him as he outwits another dope.
The film benefits massively from a large game cast of familiar faces. There’s not a single bum note, and even those saddled in completely thankless roles like Joanne Froggatt (CORONATION STREET) make a good impression. Fantast sequences and visual hallucinations are also sprinkled throughout the film rather than trowled on at length. Bruce’s flashes (Jacob’s Ladder-style) of weird animal faces is inspired and very scary at times.
On the whole it’s well-mounted but sadly it feels like a film that’s spent too long in development hell. It’s a film out of time that should have been released 15 years ago when Trainspotting was still making its influence felt across the film industry. We’re all a bit jaded by hedonistic cops and cynical scottish narrators. That it’s still a good film is a testament to the makers who have invested a lot of time, effort and talent in it to make sure that it works despite it’s built-in disadvantages.
6.5 out of 10 – Filth is a supremely entertaining, yet disgusting piece of cinema. It’s playing with a loaded dice in that nobody really goes out there way to follow this kind of ‘sick on purpose’ deal these days. It feels lucky to exist and to have such a wealth of talent in place to make sure that it couldn’t go wrong.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- James McAvoy: Glass, X-Men 6, Atomic Blonde, Split, X-Men 5, Victor Frankenstein, X Men 4, Muppets Most Wanted, Welcome To The Punch, Trance, Arthur Christmas (voice), X Men- First Class, Gnomeo & Juliet (voice), The Conspirator, The Last Station, Wanted, Becoming Jane, Atonement, Starter For 10, Penelope, The Last King Of Scotland, The Chronicles Of Narnia- The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, Shameless (TV), Inside I’m Dancing, Wimbledon, Bright Young Things, Regeneration, The Near Room
- Jamie Bell: 6 Days, The Fantastic 4 (2015), Snowpiercer, Nymphomaniac, Retreat, Man On a Ledge, The Adventures of Tintin (mo-cap), The Eagle (2011), Jane Eyre (2011), Defiance, Jumper, Hallam Foe, Flags Of Our Fathers, King Kong (2004), Dear Wendy, Undertow, Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Deathwatch, Billy Elliott
- Eddie Marsan: The Limehouse Golem, Atomic Blonde, Their Finest, Concussion, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (TV), Still Life, X+Y, God’s Pocket, The World’s End, I Anna, Snow White & The Huntsman, War Horse, Sherlock Holmes 2, London Boulevard, Tyrannosaur, Junkhearts, The Disappearance Of Alice Creed, Heartless, Sherlock Holmes (2009), Faintheart, Hancock, Happy Go Lucky, Grown Your Own, Miami Vice Movie, The Illusionist (2007), Mission Impossible III, The New World, Pierrepoint, 21 Grams, Vera Drake, Gangster No.1, Gangs Of New York, The Bunker, Janice Beard 45wpm
- Imogen Poots: Green Room, Knight of Cups, Jimi, She’s Funny That Way, Need For Speed, That Awkward Moment, A Long Way Down, A Late Quartet, The Look Of Love, Comes a Bright Day, Jane Eyre (2011), Fright Night (2011), Chatroom, Centurion, Cracks, 28 Weeks Later
- Martin Compston: A Hunter’s Prayer, Scottish Mussel, The Legend of Barney Thompson, Line of Duty (TV), The Wee Man, When The Lights Went Out, 7Lives, Strippers Vs. Werewolves,Four, Ghosted, Piggy, The Disappearance Of Alice Creed, Soulboy, How To Stop Being a Loser, Pimp, True North, The Damned Utd, Doomsday, Red Road, Tickets, Sweet Sixteen
- Joanne Froggatt: Mary Shelley, Bob The Builder (voice) (TV), Starfish, A Streetcat Named Bob, Still Life, Uwantme2killhim?, In Our Name, Downton Abbey (TV), Miranda, Coronation Street (TV)
- Shauna Macdonald: Nails, Dangermouse (voice) (TV), Howl (2015), The Hike, The Descent 2, Mutant Chronicles, The Descent, Spooks (TV), Late Night Shopping, The Debt Collector
- John Sessions: Alice In Wonderland 2, Legend (2015), Mr Holmes, Pudsey The Dog, The Iron Lady, Made In Dagenham, Nativity, The Good Shepherd, The Adventures Of Pinocchio, In The Bleak Midwinter, Princess Caraboo, The Pope Must Die, Henry V (1989), The Bounty
- Shirley Henderson: On The Road – Wolf Alice, T2 – Trainspotting, Bridget Jones 3, Urban Hymn, Tale of Tales, Set Fire To The Stars, In Secret, The Look Of Love, Everyday, Anna Karenina (2012), Meek’s Cutoff, Life During Wartime, Wild Child, Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, Marie Antoinette, Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire, A Cock And Bull Story, Bridget Jones 2, Yes, Intermission, Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself, Harry Potter and The Chamber Of Secrets, Once Upon a Time In The Midlands, 24 Hour Party People, Bridget Jones’ Diary, The Claim (2000), Wonderland (2000), Topsy Turvy, Trainspotting, Rob Roy
- Emun Elliott: 6 Days, Scottish Mussel,, Exodus – Gods and Kings, Strawberry Fields, Prometheus, Black Death
- Kate Dickie: Prevenge, The Witch, Not Another Happy Ending, For Those In Peril, Shell, Now Is Good, Prometheus, Outcast, Somers Town, Summer (2008), Red Road
- Gary Lewis: Outlander (TV), Catch Me Daddy, Not Another Happy Ending, When The Lights Went Out, Neds, Valhalla Rising, Goal 3, Three and Out, Yasmin, Eragon, True North, Goal!, Ae Fond Kiss, Gangs Of New York, Shiner, Billy Eliiott, Gregory’s Girl 2, The Match, East Is East, Orphans, My Name Is Joe, My Name Is Joe
- Iain De Caestecker: Agents of SHIELD (TV), Lost River, In Fear, Shell, The Fades (TV), Coronation St (TV)
- Pollyanna McIntosh: The Blood Lands, Let Us Prey ,MI High (TV), Burke and Hare, Exam
- Brian McCardie: In The Blood (2015), For Those In Peril, Speed 2, The Ghost and The Darkness
- David Soul: Puritan, Salem’s Lot, Starsky & Hutch (TV)
- Jim Broadbent: War & Peace (TV), The Lady In The Van, Brooklyn, Big Game, Get Santa, Paddington, Postman Pat (voice), The Harry Hill Movie, Closed Circuit, Le Week-End, Cloud Atlas, The Iron Lady, Arthur Christmas (voice), Another Year, Harry Potter- part 8, Harry Potter- part 6, The Damned United, Young Victoria, Inkheart, Indiana Jones 4, Hot Fuzz, Chronicles Of Narnia- The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, Bridget Jones 2, Vera Drake, Vanity Fair, Bright Young Things, Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Gangs Of New York, Iris, Moulin Rouge, Bridget Jones, Little Voice, Topsy Turvy, The Avengers, The Borrowers, Smilla’s Feeling For Snow, The Secret Agent, Rough Magic, Richard III (1995), Princess Caraboo, Bullets Over Broadway, Widow’s Peak, The Crying Game, Enchanted April, Life Is Sweet, Erik The Viking, Vroom, Brazil