Filth is a truly filthy movie about a corrupt cop in Scotland (Edinburgh, I think) trying not to fall apart while his life crumbles around him. This movie is all drugs, booze, racist jokes, photocopied dick pics and one rough-looking James McAvoy.
This movie will end up being lumped into the category of what I like to call almost-action-dude-centric-British-punchy comedy-crime/thriller movies. Filth will join movies like Snatch (2000), Dom Hemingway (2013), In Bruges (2008) and the like. I’m a bit of a sucker for this non-existent genre because they aren’t quite action movies and they’re almost always a lot of fun.
Filth is about halfway there. Maybe they spent half their budget on getting McAvoy for the lead or maybe they were resting on the fact that this film was based on another Irvine Welch novel (I mean other than Trainspotting), either way the movie was lacking. It really started off strong with a big cast including Jamie Bell, Shirley Henderson, Jim Broadbent and a lot of British/Scottish actors you’d recognize and a super fast-paced first half. The second half, surprisingly, was pretty dark. Abandoning the murder mystery plot to focus more on our main dude’s mental illness and drug/alcohol abuse, McAvoy ends up carrying the rest of this movie alone. Man, that guy can cry. This guy, I predict, will be one of the “greats” when he’s like 50 cause he’s just a pro and a half at really intense characters. He just seems to really invest and push himself and it pays off. Playing a character that is constantly in a downward spiral and trying to portray mental illness in a way that isn’t just super offensive is hard, and McAvoy almost did it.
Though I really wasn’t down for the portrayal of mental illness and substance abuse, overall I liked it! Silly, raunchy, totally politically incorrect and gross, Filth is 2/3 fun and 1/3 yikes.