It’s not often that I find myself thinking about a film a few days after I’ve seen it.
I did with Argo. Now, that, was a good film.
But more recently, Filth, has been taking up some serious space in my brain.
I was an avid Trainspotting fan. I watched the film umpteen times. I struggled through the Scottish dialogue in the novel. Heck, I even had the ‘line-up’ poster (looking back there’s something slightly weird about a teenage girl having a poster of some fictional drug addicts on her bedroom wall – but hey!). More recently I went to see the stage production of the novel at the Birmingham Rep.
I always meant to read Irvine Welsh’s later novel, Filth. But for one reason or another never got around to it. With my love of all things twisted and Trainspotting, when I saw it was being made into a film, I knew I had to see it. Fortunately a very rainy Sunday afternoon provided the perfect opportunity.
I knew it would be twisted. I was prepared for scenes of a graphic sexual nature, hard drug taking and swearing. What I wasn’t prepared for was that I would get drawn in on an emotional level.
Put simply the story revolves around Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy), a corrupt detective in-line for promotion who will stop at nothing to get it. As he spins his web of lies and deceit he becomes increasingly ruthless and more and more depraved.
I don’t know whether it’s McAvoy’s excellent acting, or Welsh’s brilliant story, or perhaps the direction, or what, but even though Robertson is despicable you still care what happens to him… and that’s what makes this film work. You come out feeling as though you’ve done battle and slightly disturbed. But that’s not a bad thing. If Filth didn’t make you feel uneasy, it wouldn’t work. Sure, there are comedy moments, but even some of these are dark and that’s good. If they weren’t this could easily become a cheap parody.
This is not a film for people who like Rom Coms, or fluffy kittens. This is a tough film, which is twisted beyond belief. It’s odd. But that’s what makes it excellent. It makes you think about mental health, about loss, about the choices people make in life. There’s sex, drugs, violence… and lots of it. But none of it is done in a gratuitous or glossy way. It’s real. It’s pure deep down and dirty…and then a bit more dirty. After all it’s not called Filth for no reason.
One thing I will say, is try to avoid some of the other reviews and even the full trailer. I hadn’t seen them ahead of seeing the film and now having read/watched them, I’m glad, as they give quite a lot away… Although you can spot where we had our anniversary dinner if you do view the full trailer.
Fabulous rating: 5/5
P.S. Look out for Jim Broadbent’s excellent part too. Just brilliant!
P.P.S If you were an original Trainspotting fan, like me, you’re probably of the right age to really appreciate some of the tunes on the soundtrack.