Back in 1996 a little film called “Trainspotting” was released and brought realism, and a wicked vision to the perils of drug addiction. It also made a star of Ewan McGregor and director Danny Boyle while also showing us how hard the Scottish language can be to understand without subtitles. None of that would have been possible if Irvine Welsh hadn’t sat down to write the novel though, which would eventually become such a classic. Fast forward eighteen years later, and another Welsh film novel “Filth” becomes a film that may leave you feeling a little dirty.
Bruce (James McAvoy) is what you call a corrupt cop, the kind that knows very few boundaries. When the murder of a foreign exchange student happens, Bruce sees it as a way to solidify his chance to receive a promotion. His plan doesn’t involve actually solving the case, but instead making himself look good as he brings everyone else with a chance down. He does this all while partaking in every vice you can, and some, more than one at a time. He’s not so much a cop than, he is a junkie with a badge. When he is not sleeping with his fellow officer’s wives, he is framing his only friend for harassment. And of course, he’s doing all this while also trying to win back his wife and daughter.
This one pretty much lives up to its name and that is saying a lot. Author Welsh knows how to write about addiction and the damage it brings with it. Just like with “Trainspotting” the destructive life brings out one of the best performances, this time by James McAvoy, who shines in the darkness he lets himself fall into. It is hard to actually want to root for the guy, but you want him to see the error of his ways, and to stop his descent into the point of no return. With supporting roles from Jim Broadbent, Jamie Bell, and Imogen Poots, all add to the film in their own way. Writer and Director Jon S. Baird tries his best to channel Danny Boyle, but falls short, and while “Filth” is missing the flair and originality of “Trainspotting” it is still a good film. It might be good to watch this movie at home, because you’ll probably want to take a shower afterwards. I know what you are thinking, that can’t be a good thing, but the question you should be asking instead, is would you want anything else from a film with a title like “Filth”?