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Film Review – Filth

2 min read

Don’t try to explain the plot of Filth to anyone in detail.  After seeing it, I tried to describe the story and it came off sounding completely crazy, which it is. If anyone asks what it’s about, just say “it’s based on a novel by the same guy that wrote Trainspotting”, and the usual reaction is “Oh. Okay”.

Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is an unscrupulous, bipolar cop with a serious drug problem. Determined to get a promotion at work, he figures the best way is to try to eliminate the chances of any of his coworkers getting it. He employs a variety of underhanded techniques, ranging from sleeping with their wives to planting seeds of distrust and paranoia so they turn against each other.  As he investigates a murder, his attempts to manipulate and control everyone and everything around him take a trip downhill, and his sanity follows until he’s knocking on the door of full-blown psychosis. Further along in the film, we learn more about the family problems that motivate him and are at least partially the cause of his loose grip on reality. Robertson’s behavior is almost always deplorable, but at times very funny.

The Pursuit

Like Robertson, Filth is a horrible, wonderful, entertaining mess that gets trippier as it goes along.  The talented supporting cast includes Jim Broadbent, Imogen Poots and Jamie Bell, but it’s James McEvoy who gives an Oscar-worthy performance as Robertson. He is mesmerizing to watch in this role, and expresses every emotion humanly possible. Though the movie may not be everyone’s cup of tea, his performance is one of the best I have seen all year.

Some will love it, some will hate it, some won’t get it. Despite getting a bit heavy towards the end, Filth is dark, funny and entertaining. But, you will need a shower afterwards.

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