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

Trailer: FILTH 

filth_xlgThis 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.



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