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Review: Filth

Filth
05.26.2014
7 10

PLOT:

Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is a detective in Scotland investigating a racially motivated murder while attempting to gain an important promotion at work. However, Bruce leads a double life. While he pretends to be an upstanding officer, he's actually a raging drug addict who uses his powers as a cop to score drugs, gain sexual favours, and generally wreak diabolical havoc on his friends and colleges (which he calls, “The Games”).

REVIEW:

Scottish writer Irvine Welsh is a notoriously difficult author to adapt. Danny Boyle managed to turn TRAINSPOTTING into a masterpiece, but other directors have had far less success, with movies like THE ACID HOUSE and ECTASY. If you've ever read one of Welsh's books, which are written in often indecipherable Scottish slang, you'll understand why. FILTH – widely considered his best book other than TRAINSPOTTING – must have been especially difficult, with DS Bruce Robertson being one of the most malevolent anti-heroes in recent memory.

Having read FILTH last year, it's clear that writer-director Jon S. Baird significantly toned-down the character. While one might consider this a bit of a cop-out, to my way of thinking he didn't have much of a choice, as there's no way Robertson ever could have been made even the slightest bit sympathetic, even with an actor like James McAvoy in the part. To Baird's credit, a lot of Robertson's more unsavoury traits have been left intact, with him just as much of a coke-snorting, bondage loving maniac as he was in the book, if slightly less psychopathic.

As it is, Robertson's personality may turn off a lot of viewers, but if you've seen the trailers or know anything about Welsh, you should know what you're getting into. This is easily the best Welsh has been treated on the big screen since TRAINSPOTTING. While it's far from a masterpiece, it's still a lean, manic ninety-minute ride, and a darkly funny police procedural.

McAvoy seems to be having the time of his life as the ne'er do-well Robertson, gleefully giving a child the middle finger (after stealing his balloons) and cheerfully saying he became a cop so he could participate in police oppression. The plus to having such a naturally sympathetic guy like McAvoy in the part is that when it's revealed Robertson wasn't always a borderline psycho, and actually does have a soft-side (seemingly caring about a young widow played by DOWNTON ABBEY's Joanne Froggatt) it's somewhat easy to accept. While he's certainly past any kind of redemption, as played by McAvoy he's somewhat less despicable than he would have been in another actor's hands, making the film more palatable than it would have been otherwise.

In addition to McAvoy, Baird's filled his cast with a solid mix of up-and-comers (including Jamie Bell as another coke-addled cop and Imogen Poots as a straight-laced rookie) and veterans (Jim Broadbent, and a scene-stealing Eddie Marsan as McAvoy's put-upon best pal). Baird keeps the film moving at a lightening quick pace, obviously having taking his lead from Danny Boyle, with the soundtrack loaded with vintage pop tunes, and music-video-style cutting. While there's nothing as memorable of Ewan McGregor diving into a toiled after a load of heroin, Baird's put in a few interesting bits of business, including a cameo by David Soul (of STARSKY & HUTCH) randomly showing up to sing his UK Top 10 hit “Silver Lady”. It's all very weird, but it's also very amusing if you can stomach Robertson's malevolence.

While FILTH isn't the insane ride Irving Welsh's book was, it's probably as close and as brave an adaptation of that book as we're ever going to get outside of being adapted by a guy like Danny Boyle. It's probably a little to harsh for a wide audience, but for those of us that like heavy doses of insanity in our films, FILTH is well-worth checking out.

Source: JoBlo.com

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+1
6:40PM on 05/26/2014
After reading this review earlier I figured it time I give this a watch since i love Trainspotting. Well I really did enjoy it a lot but now I wish I'd read the book first. I know there were holes in this film that the novel would have filled in and I was aware of it as I was watching. Not sure I want to read it now but I wish I had prior to the movie. That said, I still really liked it a lot. Very much in fact. I wish it was longer and it's rare I ever feel that way but I wasn't ready for
After reading this review earlier I figured it time I give this a watch since i love Trainspotting. Well I really did enjoy it a lot but now I wish I'd read the book first. I know there were holes in this film that the novel would have filled in and I was aware of it as I was watching. Not sure I want to read it now but I wish I had prior to the movie. That said, I still really liked it a lot. Very much in fact. I wish it was longer and it's rare I ever feel that way but I wasn't ready for it to end. James McAvoy was fantastic and so was Joanne Froggatt even in her limited role. Love her.
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4:55PM on 05/26/2014
Why is this movie being reviewed now? Didn't it come out about 2 months ago?

Great movie by the way!
Why is this movie being reviewed now? Didn't it come out about 2 months ago?

Great movie by the way!
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3:32PM on 05/26/2014
This movie ROCKS. I did not expect it to be nearly as good as it is. See it!
This movie ROCKS. I did not expect it to be nearly as good as it is. See it!
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-1
1:59PM on 05/26/2014

So Bad Lieutenant?

No? Anyone?
No? Anyone?
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1:05PM on 05/26/2014

Same rules apply, ya spastics

I enjoyed this film a lot more than I thought I would, especially since I figured they would have severely watered it down from the novel, including the Scots dialects (which, thankfully, were left intact for the most part). Like it said in the review, they made Robertson way more sympathetic in the film, simply because there were some really unsettling bits in the novel that (rightfully) never would have gotten past the film censors, or at least the ones with any sense of morality. Other than
I enjoyed this film a lot more than I thought I would, especially since I figured they would have severely watered it down from the novel, including the Scots dialects (which, thankfully, were left intact for the most part). Like it said in the review, they made Robertson way more sympathetic in the film, simply because there were some really unsettling bits in the novel that (rightfully) never would have gotten past the film censors, or at least the ones with any sense of morality. Other than that, I was still pleasantly surprised that they got away with as much as they did, although my only complaints were that they took out the talking tapeworm (yeah, seriously; if you haven't read the book, you should), which means a lot of information about Robertson's background was left out, which I thought was sort of important, and "The Games" (i.e. Robertson fucking about with his friends and co-workers) weren't really featured as much as in the novel. Still, it could be McAvoy's best performance so far, and Marsan and Bell were pretty great in their supporting roles. Also nice to see John Sessions pop up as Toal.
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11:40AM on 05/26/2014
It's a great movie but you really need to read the book before or after to totally understand what's happening.
It's a great movie but you really need to read the book before or after to totally understand what's happening.
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11:00AM on 05/26/2014
We need more good dark films like this. Been wanting to see this ever since I saw the trailer and since Wanted, McAvoy has quickly become one of my new favorite actors to watch in anything. But glad to see it get a good review.

And if anyone is interested, iTunes has this film available to download for rent for like six or seven dollars. Probably the best choice, considering a film like this probably won't go nationwide to many theaters.
We need more good dark films like this. Been wanting to see this ever since I saw the trailer and since Wanted, McAvoy has quickly become one of my new favorite actors to watch in anything. But glad to see it get a good review.

And if anyone is interested, iTunes has this film available to download for rent for like six or seven dollars. Probably the best choice, considering a film like this probably won't go nationwide to many theaters.
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3:45AM on 05/27/2014
Both 1080 & 720, available for free.

[link]
Both 1080 & 720, available for free.

[link]
7:17AM on 05/26/2014
The first two acts of the movie is the best movie i've seen last year and James McAvoy's performance is the best performance of the last year.the twist ruined the movie just like another McAvoy's movie Trance.
The first two acts of the movie is the best movie i've seen last year and James McAvoy's performance is the best performance of the last year.the twist ruined the movie just like another McAvoy's movie Trance.
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4:24AM on 05/26/2014
Professor seX.
Professor seX.
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5:00AM on 05/26/2014
Now that's a parody I'd like to see.
Now that's a parody I'd like to see.
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