JAMES MCAVOY JAMIE BELL EDDIE MARSAN IMOGEN POOTS JIM BROADBENT SHIRLEY HENDERSON
Not entirely sure where this new trend of disgusting men in crime dramas is coming from, mostly in European films. First it was Jude Law in Don Hemmingway, playing somewhat of a very similar character to the one McAvoy plays here. Filth, which is written and directed by Jon S. Biard, does understand that a man this filthy can only go so far before there is no turning back. McAvoy, who has always had the wild streak in his eye, whether playing in the erotic Atonement or even rumored off set antics on the X-Men films. He seems right at home with the devilish orange beard and half-cocked smile in this picture.
Desperate to land the investigator promotion at the local Scotland police office, Bruce (McAvoy) is up against five other potential candidates, some of them his friends. However, between the coke snorting, the back dealing, and the crime aversion, Bruce is far more focused on manipulating his fellow officers than catching the gang responsible for the murder of a young Japanese student. Bruce’s past transgressions are catching up with him, and the distorted and terrifying animal faces he projects onto colleagues might be the end of the sick game he tries to play.
McAvoy, to be sure, had a lot of fun playing this part; he and Bell (King Kong, Nymphomaniac) certainly get to have their filth and eat it too. The characters' clever manipulations are about the only intriguing part of the script for me. However, believing that someone as doped up and strung out as Bruce is throughout the film could conceivably do anything clever is a bit of a stretch. The film barrels towards a supposed surprise conclusion, but it's too little, too late. I lost interest very early on when it became clear this film is more like a skit clinging to a very loose plot to allow this character to do bad deeds all over town.
The cast is really impressive, similar to the type of cast you would expect in an Edgar Wright film. Poots (Need for Speed, That Awkward Moment), one of the only respectable female characters in the film, plays the most assured and admirable role I have seen her in yet. Unfortunately, Filth isn’t interested in contrasting characters with moral fiber against Bruce. Pretty much all the male characters have severe destructive flaws. In the end there is nothing to see; it’s a vile mishap and wasted opportunity for all involved.
Final Thought – The disgusting part is the amount of time you waste watching it.
By: Dustin Chase