Tuesday, September 24, 2013

James McAvoy: Movie review: Filth (5 stars)

James McAvoy stars as womanising cop Bruce Robertson

By Garry McConnachie
September 23, 2013

ADAPTING an Irvine Welsh novel for the big screen can be fraught with danger. Especially following the outstanding Trainspotting.

Some have tried - and failed - to make the transition work. Most recently Rob Heydon's Ecstasy was met with critical and public derision.

However, Scots director Jon S Baird could be set to step out from the shadow of Danny Boyle's 1996 effort with Filth - one of the most ballsy and in-your-face black comedies to hit the big screen in quite a while.

Those who have read the book will know all about the debauched exploits of Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy). For those who haven't, he's an Edinburgh police officer. To say he's an extreme character would be doing him a disservice. Happy to snort coke on the job, sleep with a colleague's wife and manipulate anyone who gets in his way, Bruce doesn't seem to have any boundaries.

With a detective inspector promotion in the offing, Bruce is tasked with leading a case involving the murder of a Japanese student in the capital. However, his extra-curricular activities begin to get in the way. Add to this is his attempts to be reconciled with his wife and daughter and this is no teddy bears' picnic.

It's worth starting with the obvious. Filth is explicit, OTT and, quite often, surreal. This isn't a film for the easily offended or the weak of heart. Much of what happens on screen is jaw-dropping in its absurdity. But all of it works a treat down to a bizarre cameo that's worth admission money on its own. Bruce is such a big character that everything he does is amplified. Dishevelled and constantly drunk, he's not the shy retiring type.

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