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Filth - Film Review

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by Elysia Tsangarides (subscribe)
Writer, editor, marketer, book lover, foodie and believer that life shouldn't be anything but extraordinary.
Published November 17th 2013
Bruce Robertson is a corrupt Scottish detective possessed not only by his own drug induced demons but by the impending promotion he will stop at nothing to get it.

Filth stars an almost unrecognisably, beefed up James McAvoy as the dishevelled Detective Robertson; drug addict, sex addict, alcoholic, and he plays the character with distinct enthusiasm.

filth, irvine welsh, james mcavoy, scottish film, bruce robertson, film review
It's filthy!

Based on the 1998 novel by Scottish writer Irvine Welsh, as the one-word title suggests, you shouldn't expect to get anything other than filth in this film. If you're a bit squeamish there will be more than a few moments you'll wince and look away, which is exactly what this film sets out to do. A film 15 years in the making, the script, acting and direction is exceptional, challenging the boundaries of contemporary drama.

The cheeky looks into the camera draw the viewer into the picture which make you even more emotionally involved with the characters. And somehow amidst his decrepit behaviour, his decaying morals, his inclination to break the laws of society and human decency, you still manage to feel sympathetic to Bruce Robertson's plight.

Irvine Welsh has said of the film and his original book that he is obsessed with failure and how much more interesting and multidimensional is it compared to success. So if that was the intention, Filth certainly delivers.

A melding of reality and the mind's own illusions, you might call this film a black comedy, but you also might just call it filth. It toys with the viewer's emotions in a bipolar fashion with a mixture of humour, thriller, drama and soft porn.

It's refreshing to see a film untainted by the 'Hollywood-happy-ending' and 'the-moral-of-the-story-and-life-itself-is' spin and just get something, well, a little bit morbid served straight up with a shot of dark humour and a snort of tragedy.

My favourite character though, was the over the top Dr Rossi played by Jim Broadbent. You'll recognise him from Baz Lurman's Moulin Rouge, The Iron Lady and Bridget Jones' Diary. It's just in his nature to be outlandish and he does it so well.

So if you're heading off to see Filth, do yourself a favour and go for a nice cheery meal afterwards. Then go home and have a really good shower to wash it off you.
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*Elysia Tsangarides was invited as a guest
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Why? Because here's a film with a lot of edge.
When: Check with local cinema
Where: In cinemas
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