Starring: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Imogen Poots, Jim Broadbent, John Sessions
Directed By: Jon S. Baird
Written By: Jon S. Baird
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 37 min
Filth: Offensive or disgusting dirt or refuse; foul matter: ‘the filth dumped into our rivers.’ Foul condition: ‘to live in filth’. Moral impurity, corruption, or obscenity. Vulgar or obscene language or thought. The Filth; ‘the police.’
The dictionary definition of the word, and the slang used by some to describe the police, is a perfect fit for Detective Bruce (James McAvoy.) Loaded up on alcohol and cocaine, and in pursuit of a promotion at work. Bruce manipulates his colleagues, shags their wives and betrays his friends, as his life careens out of control.
The murder investigation plot isn’t really the focus of this film, just the roller coaster ride that is Bruce’s life. An unstoppable train destined for a wreck, an ugly character displaying every loathsome quality possible for a man. Bruce is incredibly flawed, but Jon S. Baird’s adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s book, makes sure you understand why without turning this fast paced, occasionally humorous gem, into a pity party.
This is all about James McAvoy however, and what could have easily been tough to watch, even unpleasant, becomes an incredibly watchable tour-de-force performance by one of the best actors working today. In equal measures a mean spirit, and damaged man self-medicating away a tragic past. McAvoy’s performance can disgust in one moment, and then break your heart the next.
If you’ve enjoyed other Irvine Welsh adaptations, then I think you’ll get something out of this. It moves at a great pace, has a great soundtrack, great moments of humor, and if you’re a fan of Mr McAvoy’s work, then this is a must see. This movie earns its R rating due to its depiction of sex, nudity, and substance abuse.
This is nicely shot, and the most surreal moments when Bruce starts to hallucinate are interesting, but this film will be served well enough with a HD viewing on a TV sized screen.
There’s a scene with Bruce and another detective, Drummond (Imogen Poots), inside the police station that is a perfect example of what I was talking about earlier. She confronts him about his behavior. Bruce responds first with anger, then he breaks down and becomes upset. As you think he may be having a break through, his mood switches again, and the transformation on Bruce’s face is shocking as he angrily dismisses Drummond, and leaves the station.