Cinema Review: Filth | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, March 4th, 2024  


Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Directed by Jon S. Baird

May 28, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands
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When not attempting to pit his co-workers against each other over a promotion or trying to sleep with his best friend’s wife, Edinburgh homicide detective Bruce Robertson spends his time as a drug-addicted, authority-abusing misanthrope on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

A simple shorthand for Filth would be to say it’s Bad Lieutenant crossed with the black comedy of Trainspotting, itself another adaptation of a novel by Irvine Welsh. Robertson is an unapologetically despicable protagonist, but James McAvoy tempers him with his usual charm while still remaining true to the character’s scheming black heart. His performance is the strongest aspect of the film and Robertson’s descent into madness is kept surprisingly light by McAvoy’s irreverent narration and fourth wall leaning.

The rest is fun, if not overly compelling. Director Jon S. Baird utilizes interesting visual and sonic flourishes and the film is at it’s best when its pendulum swings away from vulgar comedy toward something approaching surreal horror. The supporting cast makes the most of their limited roles, particularly the great Eddie Marsan as Robertson’s chump of a best friend, and the film’s pat, unsatisfying resolution ultimately doesn’t detract from it’s minute-to-minute pleasures.

Author rating: 6.5/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10


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