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Friday, May 30, 2014

Sean Kelly

Indie Spotlight: Filth

The Pursuit

Indie Spotlight is a series focusing on reviews of independent films

Based on the novel by Irving Welsh (Trainspotting), Filth focuses on Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy), a chauvinist Scottish police officer, who is determined to get promoted to inspector.  With his young partner Ray Lennox (Jamie Bell), Bruce sets off to solve a murder, which should guarantee him position and please his wife Carole (Shauna Macdonald).  However, Bruce also enjoys an extracurricular lifestyle of sex and drugs and battles personal demons, which distorts his views of reality.  As he experiences more visions and nightmares, Bruce begins to doubt whether or not he is the man he thinks he is.

I have to admit that Filth was not entirely the film that I was expecting.  It can be assumed that a film with such a title would be wall-to-wall sleaze and indeed Filth features plenty of gratuitous sex and drug use.  However, it quickly turns out that the film is much more about the complex character under Bruce’s hard-edged exterior.  It becomes obvious that Bruce is a damaged man, however it is not immediately clear what this damage is.  However, it has something to do with vision of a boy Bruce keeps seeing.

A key element of Fifth are the many visions and hallucinations Bruce has over the course of the film, which often has Bruce seeming many people (including himself) as various animals.  Then there’s an absolutely insane performance by Jim Broadbent as Bruce’s psychiatrist Dr. Rossi, who appears in various dream sequences with a crazy Albert Einstein-like hairstyle.  While there is an actual police case that Bruce is trying to solve, it eventually takes a backseat to his crazy behaviour.

Filth is based nearly entirely on the performance by James McAvoy, who slowly from between being a complete sleazeball to a much more layered character.  Bruce’s wife Carole appears at many points during the film to say how great her relationship with Bruce is, though it’s obvious that not everything is as it seems.  There is a big third act revelation about Bruce, which is eye-opening to say the least. 

As for the rest of the cast, Eddie Marsan stands out as Bruce’s meek best friend Clifford Blades, who is often the victim of Bruce’s bullying.  Rounding out the cast is Jamie Bell as Bruce’s equally drug abusing rookie partner Ray and Imogen Poots as a female detective named Amanda, who can’t put up with Bruce’s behaviour.

Overall, Filth was an OK enough dark comedy.  While there are some moments of the film, which were perhaps a little too much on the sleazy or crazy side, it is still worth watching, if only for McAvoy’s performance. 

7 | FAIR 

Filth opens today at the Carlton Cinema and is also available on iTunes and VOD.

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).