It’s September, almost October in fact. The nights are drawing in and it’s getting colder for the morning commute. Christmas chocolates and alcohol are already in the shops, so it’s about time that there was a Christmas film in the cinemas. Or at least one set over the festive period, in case you still believe it’s a little too early for something of the saccharine “family is the greatest gift” genre. In short, it’s the perfect time for a bit of Filth.
James McAvoy plays Bruce Robertson, a drug addicted police officer intent on manipulating and pitting his colleagues against one another in order to beat them to a much desired promotion rather than actually solving a brutal murder. But as Bruce drinks and shags his way through squalid parties and flats bedecked in cheap fairy lights things fall apart. What starts off light hearted (if a touch dark) descends into the impossible balancing act of drugs, sex and enforcing the law as Bruce tries to win back his wife and daughter. On second thoughts, that last part is very Jingle All The Way. Maybe this is isn’t so far from the feel good Christmas film after all.
But Robertson isn’t the only copper knee-deep in the filth. His workmate and rival Ray Lennox, played by Jamie Bell, is just as in to his cocaine and it’s the private lives and secrets of the others that Robertson uses to cheat his way up the ladder. Added to this is Jim Broadbent’s Dr Rossi who seems supremely unconcerned about Robertson’s drug addictions and hallucinations and instead prescribes increasingly more pills. Imogen Poots almost adds a shred of sanity as Amanda Drummond, another police officer deemed unworthy of manipulation because she’s a woman.
The film is based on Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh’s novel of the same title, albeit a slightly toned down version (leaving out the bestiality). The screenplay has been adapted and directed by Jon S. Baird in his second forage into feature film and, by all accounts it is not an easy film. Described as “bonkers” by McAvoy, the film has been viewed as such a risk that it has taken a truly stunning 26 producers to get the thing made. Shocking for an adaptation of a book that has whole chapters narrated by a tapeworm. Added to all this is what’s rumoured to be a gloriously trashy soundtrack (if the use of the Scissor Sister’s Filthy Gorgeous on the trailer is anything to go by, the rumours are true).Filth is probably unlikely to replace It’s a Wonderful Life or The Muppet Christmas Carol as an annual December viewing staple, for most people it’s not even as realistic as the Royle Family, but it might just serve as a welcome antidote to all that peace on earth and good will to all men. And it might just mean that your grandparents’ views aren’t the most misogynistic, homophobic and racist ones you hear over the Christmas week, which is different at least.
Filth was released in Scotland on 27th September and will be out in cinemas throughout the rest of the UK on 4th October.