Filth (2013) – Jon S. Baird


Releasing on DVD and Blu-Ray today is this adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel, and gives James McAvoy an opportunity to tear up the screen with a brilliant performance.

He plays Bruce, a police officer in Scotland, who is a hard ass, a cynic, a bit of a racist, and fits right in with the rest of his compatriots on the force. He`s self-assured, and a schemer, and thinks he has the promotion to Detective Inspector completely locked up.

When a murder investigation lands in his lap, and he`s put in charge, he figures now is a time to shine, and perhaps win back his estranged wife and daughter. Unfortunately, he goes about it by trying to discredit the other lads and lasses on the force with him, including Lennox (Jamie Bell), and Drummond (Imogen Poots).

He`s not above sleeping with a co-worker`s wife, or making crank phone calls to his mate, Bladesey`s (Eddie Marsan) wife Bunty (Shirley Henderson), and exploiting, using and degrading anyone he comes across during the games (his job). All the same rules apply.

However, as the case, and his personal life begin to spin out of control, even his doctor, Rossi (Jim Broadbent) can`t help him.

This is a role that lets McAvoy cut loose, he is simultaneously funny, disgusting, charming, broken, and flawed, and he plays it to the hilt. He lets it all out, and this could be his strongest performance since the Last King of Scotland, and that`s from someone who has enjoyed all of his performances to date.


Baird not only directed this version of  Welsh`s novel, but adapted it for the screen as well, and I think he`s crafted a hallucinatory, dark, often funny and disturbing film that shows a man who fell over the ledge a long time ago, and just doesn`t realize it.

McAvoy shares a great scene with Poots, where you think for a moment, he may just let down his guard, he`s beyond wrecked, everything is coming apart, and you can see that, for one brief second, he`s thinking about opening up to another human being…


This is one that really isn`t going to appeal to everyone, but if you like McAvoy, if you`re a fan of Irvine Welsh, or if you just like edgy, dark, comedy and drama, this may very well be in your wheelhouse, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

McAvoy is amazing, nothing short of that.

I haven`t read the original source material, so I`d be happy to hear from someone who has, and tell me how the film stands up against it. I`m sure the book is better, aren`t they always? But I’d be very eager to hear from someone who has read the book and seen the film.

I personally greatly enjoyed it, and will happily add it to my rewatch pile.

Filth is available today on DVD and Blu-Ray.






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