Take Me Somewhere Else
I wasn’t exactly sure I wanted to watch “Filth”, but only because I have fond memories of reading the book (by Irvine Welsh), and I didn’t want those to be ruined by a movie fucking it all up. I didn’t watch “Trainspotting” (another Irvine Welsh novel) because of the same reason.
I’m glad I didn’t rest on my proverbial reading laurels. Filth was amazing! I couldn’t keep my eyes off the screen because, just like Welsh’s books, I wanted to know what happens next and I didn’t want to miss it when it DID happen.
Filth (which is a perfect name for this story) is focused on Bruce Robertson (played expertly by James McAvoy) who is a detective sergeant in Edinburgh’s Lothian Constabulary. He’s basically (and genuinely) a corrupt cop trying to do whatever he can to get a promotion, even if it means he has to stomp all over those around him. Along the way to his goal, he loses a firm grip on his identity and has a few monster breakdowns. He’s a bigot, an alcoholic, a drug addict, and is sexually abusive. He’s aggressive, manipulative, vindictive and that all stems from his psychotic disorder. We watch this comedy-drama-detective-crime-porn all the while breathing in second hand smoke from all the cigarettes Bruce smokes. That’s when we’re not getting splattered by the vomit he’s spewing. (Fun Fact: James McElvoy said he can vomit on cue, and did just that during the filming of this movie).
I first saw James McElvoy on “Wanted” and thought that this guy was incredible. Actually…I take that back. I saw him first as Paul Atreide’s son, Leto, in “Children of Dune”. Then as Tomness in “The Chronicles of Narnia”. THEN “Wanted”. And lately as Charles Xavier in the “X-Men” movies. None of those roles…not a one…is anything like he’s playing here. He’s a pig in the rawest form possible. Yet, if he wasn’t a complete dirtball…this movie wouldn’t be half as good as it is.
You’ll laugh, you’ll curse, you’ll ooh and ahh, and then you’ll get weepy -but not completely because then you’ll be immediately disgusted until you laugh again. Bruce Robertson isn’t someone I’d want to hang out with, but he makes terrific movie fodder. The scenes in the film are as dirty and gritty as the title suggests. You’ll definitely be thinking about a shower when you’re done watching. You’ll also be cursing Bruce’s very existence, all the while rooting for the guy’s wellness.
We rented the movie at first, then we bought it. We wanted to watch it again. It’s that good. This isn’t a movie to gather the family around. There’s sex and drugs and f-bombs and crime galore! And when you think all of that might calm down a little bit, Bruce makes a phone call…unzips his pants…and gets busy on pleasing himself while on the phone. I’m telling you, this is James McElvoy like you’ve never seen him before. As ugly and horrific as his character is…McElvoy should consider this his crowned achievement in acting.