Wednesday 23 October 2013

Review: Filth

Year: 2013
Director: Jon S. Baird
Screenplay: Jon S. Baird
Starring: James McAvoy, Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsden, Joanne Froggart, Jim Broadbent, Shirley Henderson

Synopsis is here

It’s all falling apart. Trumbling inch by inch and you really don’t want to be around when it finally collapses. I’m not talking about Edinburgh where Filth is based. Although the picture director Jon S Baird paints, is no way a pretty one.

No the dilapidation that’s found in Filth resides in the mind of Bruce Robinson; the crafty yet crumbling anti-hero who inhabits this story. The film is Bad Lieutenant by the way of Fight Club, throwing us into the dark psyche of Bruce Robinson, a model cop if he wasn't so cracked. Crooked to the core and holding it together by the skin of his teeth, Robinson is on the case of murdered Japanese student, although Filth isn't interested in the outcome of that, as we are soon to find out. 

A film that’s unapologetic with the dark places it drags us to. I was in no way surprised when a couple walked out early. This is a grubby, sweaty yet darkly comic picture that's lead by a character as ugly as the picture of Dorian Gray. Trust me when I say that if you know and love cheerful chappy James McAvoy as Professor Xavier or the chipper lad from Starter for Ten, then you best leave now.   

McAvoy takes centre frame here, filling the screen with an ogre like ugliness and revelling in it Alex De Large style. The cinematography is so tightly framed around him at times; it doesn’t want you to escape his presence. It's not that Scotland is ugly, but McAvoy's Robinson seems to embraces any and all the horrible problems that haunt our northern neighbours. Racism, greed, sadism, homophobia, and excess, you name it. He embodies all the sociological problems that infect and devolve us. That despite this; he manages to ring out a small amount of pity out of all this sinful revelling, is astonishing. For the most part, Bruce is riding an overpowered rollercoaster of decadence, which is beginning to buckle as he slowly loses control.

If you expect Trainspotting, be warned. Both films may have the same voice, but the energy differs. There are seemingly more flights of fancy, more of an abstract nature and more abrasiveness with the film seeping into something like a horror film as it hurtles towards the films conclusion. But that's what Irvine Welsh’s source material seems to be good at, with Barid as writer/director tailoring the film to balance the rot with just enough pathos to stop you from becoming fully submerged in the quagmire. That said, as the film shifts from dark comedy to drama the film does start to stumble. Not very scene hits it's mark emotionally and it's clear some cinematic alterations almost softens the blow too much and the film almost loses it's bite at the end. But Filth keeps its eyes on the prize and stays on track remaining a darker than dark yet somewhat entertaining look at sin in the modern age.