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Sordid shenanigans in a squalid Scottish setting,
This review is from: Filth [DVD]  (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?!) and the frequent anal-sex references and photocopying of genitalia provided a strong seam of comedy - albeit of the darkest hue. Ultimately though, it's a drama depicting one man's slide into mental illness and self-destruction, and despite some odd tonal shifts, it's well worth seeing as an original and challenging movie experience.