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article imageReview: ‘Filth’ gets down and dirty Special

By Sarah Gopaul     May 30, 2014 in Entertainment
‘Filth’ is the film adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s 1998 novel about a callous cop who’s willing to do anything for a promotion he believes will save his family, featuring a stunning James McAvoy in the lead role.
Irvine Welsh is one of the most provocative authors of this generation. Best known for Trainspotting, which was his first book adapted for the screen, the Scot's characters live in the city's underbelly. They commit unforgivable acts that defy both ethical and legislative law. Though their primary occupations may change, their unsympathetic path of self-destruction does not. Filth follows a police detective who will stop at nothing to get a promotion at work.
Bruce (James McAvoy) is an all-star detective and a shoo-in for the new department position. He's assigned most of the high-profile cases and socializes with all the right people. But just to make sure, he sets about sabotaging the reputation of all his competition. Meanwhile Bruce's grip on reality is slowly slipping away as his hallucinations become more prevalent and his imaginary psychiatrist (Jim Broadbent) aims to make matters worse. Drugs, sex and countless lies takeover as he is caught in a downward spiral that can only end at rock bottom.
It can be difficult to recreate for the screen the psychology so aptly described in writing, but writer/director Jon S. Baird obviously had a distinct and comprehensive vision for how he thought a film adaptation would look. The narrative is driven by Bruce's deranged commentary on his life and all those in it. As the story progresses, it becomes increasingly clear he's having more trouble keeping all the balls in the air than he's letting on. He's losing control of his alcohol and cocaine addictions. Even the kinkier aspects of his sex life are no longer satisfying.
An utter lack of conscience allows Bruce to look out for number one regardless of the consequences. But his deepest regrets are breaking through more regularly, resulting in startling visions of a dead boy, animal heads in the place of human's and increasingly disturbing, random therapy sessions with a doctor that usually appears to be the crazier one in the room. In addition, glamorous versions of his wife boast about a loving husband and how their marriage will benefit from his promotion even though she makes no normal appearances in their home.
McAvoy is exceptional, shedding the typical nice guy persona he portrays and replacing it with a vindictive S.O.B. He absolutely carries the film with his convincing portrayal of the ruthless, distraught cop that has no boundaries or moral compass. Jamie Bell is Bruce’s sidekick who’d love the opportunity to finally one-up the sadist. Eddie Marsan is the pathetic mark Bruce toys with for his amusement. Broadbent’s psychiatrist is outlandish and he appears to revel in it. In truth, the entire supporting cast is excellent and help bring this bizarre, psychedelic drama to life.
Welsh gets a wider audience; Baird gets a pat on the back for doing it right; and audiences get the pleasure of watching an intense piece of cinema.
Director: Jon S. Baird
Starring: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan
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