Filth 2013

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Scheming Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy), a bigoted and corrupt policeman, is in line for a promotion and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Enlisted to solve a brutal murder and threatened by the aspirations of his colleagues, including Ray Lennox (Jamie Bell), Bruce sets about ensuring their ruin.

1 hour, 37 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Jon S. Baird
Studio Lionsgate
BBFC rating Suitable for 18 years and over
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. Gordon TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Nov. 2014
Format: Blu-ray
While it can't compete with "Trainspotting" for the best adaptation of an Irvine Welsh novel (and loses some points for feeling stylistically imitative of Boyle's amazing film at times), it's still an enjoyable super-high energy romp through the muck of one cop's sick and twisted mind.

That messed up cop is played with verve and abandon by James McAvoy. McAvoy is joining actors of his generation like Christian Bale and Ryan Gosling who have the uncanny ability to disappear into wildly different characters seamlessly, and without a lot of `look at this character I created' theatrics.

The supporting cast is this blacker than black comedy of no manners is also terrific, with Eddie Marsan as McAvoy's hapless and meek one real friend standing out in a cast full of stand outs.

Jon Baird directs with so much manic energy the film keeps threatening to derail (and not every scene works, some hitting the metaphors and symbols way too on the nose). But Baird just manages to keep it together enough so that the wretched excess in this story of a detective who will stomp on everyone around himself in hopes of getting a promotion works as a sort of Brecht on acid character study, and not a student film gone wrong (though it gets close at moments).

Not the sort of film to see if you're feeling cranky and critical, but if you want to watch a young(ish) director and some excellent actors push the limits as they look inside the heart of darkness until you don't know whether to laugh or turn away, you could do a lot worse than "Filth".
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Scaroth, Last of the Jagaroth on 8 Oct. 2013
Format: DVD
Described by critics as likely to leave its audience feeling soiled inside and out, this latest adaptation of an Irvine Welsh novel depicts a Scotland so seamy and sordid that the country's tourist board will be having many a collective sleepless night. Opening with the brutal kicking to death of an innocent Japanese student, the film quickly introduces its anti--hero, the thoroughly amoral and mind-bogglingly lecherous DS Bruce Robertson, in the form of an outstanding James McAvoy, oozing malice and corruption from every conceivable pore.

Alongside colleague and friend Ray Lennox - a wolfish Jamie Bell (if it's possible for such a monster to have a friend), Robertson snorts vasts quantities of cocaine, masturbates furiously in an agony of self-loathing (the latter symbolised by his seeing himself as a grunting, malicious sentient pig in regular hallucinations), physically and verbally abuses suspects, and at one point forces a fifteen year old schoolgirl to give him a blow-job. The despair and nihilism projected by this character is contextualised by his only other real `friend', the neurotic and bashful Clifford Blades, ably played by the naturally hangdog Eddie Marsan, who Bruce persistently and systematically tries to bring down to his level. As Bruce's superior, John Sessions provides quality support, as does Jim Broadbent as an increasingly deranged psychiatrist and the manifestation of the tapeworm that is steadily growing in Bruce's guts and which is contributing in no small part to his toxic personality.

I approached the film with some trepidation after reading of its stomach-churning tone and reprehensible characters, however it wasn't nearly as horrifying as I expected (or maybe I've been desensitised?!
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Lister on 11 Oct. 2013
Format: DVD
This is another film adaptation of an Irvine Welsh novel that was referred to as "unfilmable", although when reading the book when it first came out I for one was struck by the tightness of the narrative and the cinema-friendly focus on a single protagonist.

The antihero in question is Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy), a dodgy copper trying to make the most of a promotion opportunity by ruining his rivals through a series of cruel intricate schemes. Meanwhile, his mind is deteriorating, and he's haunted by flashbacks, waking dreams, and humanoid livestock. The film is fairly faithful to the source, and the changes (including some understandably blunted edges) are down to the different artform.

Irvine Welsh has said that McAvoy's performance is better than De Niro's in Taxi Driver. I don't think this is a suitable comparison. Scorsese's seminal feature was about a post-traumatic depression, whereas Jon S. Baird's film is more manic. For me, the film Filth most resembles is A Clockwork Orange. Like Kubrick's masterpiece, the entire aesthetic is informed by the subjectivity of the central character. And there are subtler nods: the use of classical music, the bleached windows, Jim Broadbent's reinvention of the Deltoid character (a probation officer then, a psychiatrist now), and the visual reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Before the film's release, I wasn't convinced by the casting of McAvoy, but after watching it I can safely say he's transformative - to capture such bipolar savagery and the fear in a single facial expression is the sign of a special performance. The supporting cast provides a colourful blend of caricatures. Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan and Imogen Poots all make an impact in the few moments when McAvoy isn't dominating the screen.
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