yes, please. image courtesy of Shockya
Man, what a fucking movie this was. As soon as I saw a trailer for it a few months back, I knew I needed to see it — and I did just that this afternoon at the Sunset Sundance cinemas. Irvine Welsh is perhaps best known for penning Trainspotting, so I figured Filth would be profanely bizarre and hysterical, and it did not disappoint. This movie is brimming with joyful depravity and ludicrous amounts of high-octane language and sex, with the glorious backdrop of Scotland and near-unintelligible accents.
I feel like I’ve had a James McAvoy mini marathon as of late, watching X-Men First Class on Blu-Ray and seeing X-Men Days of Future Past last week. Real talk: this guy rules. I first saw McAvoy on Channel 4’s Shameless on one visit to the UK in 2005 or so, and I was hooked. Then Wanted hit theatres in 2008, and though that movie isn’t anything stellar, it’s super fucking entertaining and over the top ridiculous. 2009’s The Last Station was playing at like.. 2 theatres in the US, and I happened to see it at the Angelika Film Center in Manhattan on a bitterly cold day. Last year, Trance came to cinemas and I was pretty much blown away. If you haven’t seen it yet, do it right the hell now; it’s a fun flick with a great premise. McAvoy is sublime and Filth is no exception; he puts on a hypnotic performance, really making you feel for his demented-ass character.
In the trailer, Filth comes off as a debaucherous adventure of obscene proportions. While that’s definitely true, the movie takes some truly dark turns and it actually manages to have a heart, which is refreshing. Some scenes are legitimately off-putting in the best way possible. McAvoy plays corrupt drug-fuelled detective Bruce Robertson, who will stop at nothing to get a promotion that he wants. He bangs around and plays mindgames, does a batshit amount of drugs, drinks like a bum, and is generally a complete fucking maniac mess. He’s into autoerotic asphyxiation with his colleague’s wife. He outs his colleague’s babydick status with a cock-photocopying “game” at the Police Christmas party. He consistently tries to out one of his colleagues as a possible homosexual in the rudest ways possible. His prank calls to his best friend’s wife Bunty are nothing short of monumental; they’re closely tied with Kathleen Turner’s Serial Mom prank calls in terms of absurdity and top-notch salaciousness. And obvi, he bangs her in her tacky jungle-themed living room while framing his best friend/her husband as the pervy prank caller.
Robertson is slowly losing his goddamned mind and we’re all along for the ride. His wife (with daughter in tow) left him, most likely because he’s a legit crazy person, and he’s dealing with that trauma in the most fucked out ways imaginable. His taunting shrink appears to be a Kubrick/Gilliam/Lynch/Cronenberg orgy creation, portrayed by the always delightful Jim Broadbent. Robertson hallucinates horrifying farm animals along with his tragically dead little brother, and is heavily medicated as a result. He’s dealing with a lot of dark shit in probably the worst ways possible, but it’s wholeheartedly enrapturing to watch. He receives praise and kindness from a woman (and her son) because he valiantly tried to save her husband from dying when everyone else just stood around like dead-eyed cows; Robertson has no idea how to receive her positivity and gratitude and genuinely struggles with it.
Filth appears to be on super limited release in the US; though it was released in the UK and Ireland last October, it was just released here on May 30th. Even then, I was only able to find it in one theatre in the LA area which is sort of shocking because it’s fucking Los Angeles. But hey, it’s available on VOD. Go check it out! Seriously. Don’t argue with me, just go!