2014-05-16 07:47
What it's about:

A bipolar, bigoted junkie cop manipulates and hallucinates his way through the festive season in a bid to secure promotion and win back his wife and daughter.

What we thought:

Corruption, sex, manipulation, drugs, discrimination and other general deviancy is all dredged up from the gutters of human nature to bring you the aptly-named Filth. It will probably shock your very moral core and decry it as nothing more than a violent pornography, but its fascination for us cuts deeper than that.

Based on Scottish writer Irvine Welsh, who also brought us the cult-hit Trainspotting, we are faced with the seriously flawed character of Bruce Robertson – a mentally unstable police officer that indulges in anything his little black heart can think of as he attempts to break his fellow officers in order to get a promotion. Although his manipulations are subtle at first, it becomes more and more desperate as he falls into a self-destroying tailspin. But amidst his depravity, there also peeps through a sickness of the mind, unmedicated and exasperated by a childhood trauma and his missing family.

Superb storytelling and brilliant directing not just brings you a character that is easily despised, but a human that you actually feel immense sorrow for. Despite his atrocious crimes and immoral behaviour, the audience can’t help but fall for the charm he uses on the other characters and seeing him as a completely broken man just makes you want to help him. There are some slivers of hope in the form of a widowed mother who is the only person he shows compassion for and his best friend – who although he abuses to death, is the only person he attempts to make things right with.

Something has to be said for the actor that plays such a disgusting character. James McAvoy (who can also be seen in the upcoming X-Men movie) really went above and beyond his abilities to bring Bruce Robertson – and it must have been damn hard not to crawl into a ball of self-hate after every scene. The vitriol and abuse he had to use on his co-stars must have been heart-wrenching and it could have easily come off as superficial, but tempered with a surprising gentility that shines through in-between the bouts of madness. McAvoy has definitely set himself a standard which I hope he continues into his future ventures.

Filth also has some other surprising faces, with Billy Elliot-legend Jamie Bell giving a great performance as a sexually inadequate officer and coke addict, Imogen Poots who you will recognise from That Awkward Moment and one of my favourite veteran actors Jim Broadbent, who plays the psychotic doctor of Bruce’s hallucinations. Most of the cast played off McAvoy’s strengths well and complimented an already outstanding lead performance.

Although I haven’t read the book, I do believe the director/screenwriter Jon S. Baird brought in the themes and metaphors of the story forward in such a vivid manner and if it wasn’t so deplorable sexually, it would have done magnificently as a subject for film study in schools.

Although there were no clues left for the viewer about the big twist in the end, the other nuances of the deeper psychology of the mind of Bruce is easily devised and well-received. Although the tape-worm from his delusions don’t make much sense, as I believe in the book it is much more relevant.

From the start, Filth is not a movie for those who are easily offended and not something anyone should watch with their parents/children as the sex scenes does attack your sense most viciously. Gratuitous violence I can deal with, but the gratuitous sex in this movie makes Game of Thrones look like a family series. Quite pornographic, with some underage solicitation, bondage and a scene where Bruce appears to be raped by a woman, this movie would be rough for anyone who as a sensitivity for such things.

But if you can stomach it and the rest of its depravity, then the movie is a brilliant depiction of human nature and the problems faced by a society where there are little options for the working class. Although you will probably feel as filthy as the title when you come out of the cinema and in need of some good moral scrubbing.

Human depravity finds a new face in the form of corrupt Scottish cop Bruce Robertson, who initially seems to be something inhuman, but is actually more human than we would care to admit.
Read more on:    jamie bell  |  james mcavoy  |  movies

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