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Filth - Film Review

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by Yvette Chapman (subscribe)
Thirty something girl, originally from Sydney but Brisbane is home now. Eats, drinks, socialises, watches art-house, studies the stars, and loves music. I'm a professional copywriter and editor. Hearts writing things.
Published November 19th 2013
Based on a novel by Irvine Welsh (author of Trainspotting)
This gritty, in-your-face drama lends itself well to the name Filth a movie where taboos have no bounds and shock value is king.

Filth, movie, cinema, film, trainspotting, irvine welsh, biff, festival


Filth is based on Scottish writer Irvine Welsh's novel, Filth, about a corrupt police officer losing his grip on reality. Welsh also wrote the novel Trainspotting, which went on to become a feature film. If you liked Trainspotting, you're in store for a similar kind of depravity and dark humour.

Filth is set in the streets of Scotland, which are awash with lads, booze and scummy deadbeats. The main character is Detective Bruce Robertson a veteran in the Edinburgh Police force, who's also a bigoted, sex-addicted sociopath, who can guzzle whisky and hoover narcotics like there's no tomorrow.

James McAvoy puts in a magnificent performance as the jaded and belligerent Bruce Robertson, a detective who is assigned to a homicide case to position him for a promotion. However, Robertson must contend with a bunch of misfit colleagues, who are in his eyes, vying for the sought after position. He resorts to scheming, bullying and manipulating his colleagues in an effort to expose their secrets and pit them against each other. His antics will have you laughing and cringing at the same time.

Fuelled by substance abuse and delusions that are pushing him to the brink, you get a sense that Robertson is hiding a deep secret amidst a ferocious sea of internal chaos and rapidly declining mental health. You'll find yourself immersed in his dark world, struggling to separate fact from fiction, as you get yanked in one direction, then in another.

Highly provocative scenes interweave themes of pornography, prostitution, homosexuality, masturbation, and perverted prank calls, making this movie adult to the core.

Filth is raw, edgy and filled to the brim with grotesque humour. It has bold one-liners, and an impressive soundtrack that includes a rendition of the Radiohead song, 'Creep', along with 'Born to be Wild' (Wilson Pickett), 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' (The Shirelles), and 'Love Really Hurts Without You' (Billy Ocean).

With an excellent supporting cast and expert direction by Jon S. Baird, Filth is a great film which lives up to expectations. From the primal emotion, to the rapid-fire dialogue that the Scottish are renowned for.

Scenes are at times disturbing, yet always compelling. Filth is a movie you don't want to miss. And really, there's no chance you could, as you feel it hit you square in the face, with no time to baulk from the brutal assault of your senses. After watching the movie you may feel like purging yourself of sins you haven't committed, but watching isn't a crime is it?

Filth is one of many films being screened at the annual Brisbane International Film Festival, otherwise known as BIFF. So settle back with a glass of bubbles or an ice-cream and enjoy the wide selection of local and foreign films, which have won awards at international film festivals such at Sundance. You only have until the end of this week to experience a taste of such cinematic excellence, as the festival concludes on Sunday 24 November. Check out the BIFF website for more details.

The film goes for 97 minutes and is rated strictly 18 years and over.
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Where: Participating cinemas
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