Sunday, December 21, 2014

Filth (2013)

JohnnyTwoToes highly recommends this underrated & twisted downward spiral

Made over a year earlier, but not getting a release until April of 2014, Filth was completely missed by the mainstream audience in America sadly releasing in just 5 theaters. This perhaps explain why in spite of a stellar performance by James McAvoy, crisp direction by Jon S. Baird and rave reviews by both critics and the public, it still did not get the attention it deserved across the US. 

Based on a best selling novel by Scottish crime writer Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting) , Filth is the story of a Scottish police investigator who is assigned to investigate the death of a Japanese student beaten to death by a gang. That is all I can say without divulging too much and since I am recommending this movie, I can say this is one of the best films of the year. 

James McAvoy is the lead character, DI (Detective Inspector) Bruce Robertson, a loathsome man if ever there was one. A corrupt, alcoholic, drug addict who is sleeping with wives of his fellow officers, bucking for the prized promotion that he thinks will make his life all the better. "The games are always being played and usually, nobody plays the games better than me. Same rules apply." is his narrated mantra and his justification for his vile behavior. 

McAvoy is at ease here playing the bipolar lead who is excellent at the games as he pits on officer against the other in clever fashion while sinking into a cauldron of booze, women and drugs. He is a backstabber, a liar and unapologetic for any of his transgressions and McAvoy makes Robertson so viciously reprehensible that you would wonder how anybody could still root for him. But I did. McAvoy is THAT good. He is able to take this character and STILL make you root for him to get his life in order. This is no small feat. You get to see that there is still good in Robertson but he tries to stamp it back down. It only makes it worse for him. 

McAvoy's performance is Oscar worthy, but since not many have even HEARD of this film let alone seen it, this would be long shot. Too bad. His performance is the best of his career, probably the most difficult to play, as well. He has done some incredible work with Danny Boyle's Trance, also a great film and of course the young Professor Xavier in the X-Men franchise. But Filth is all McAvoy. 

Credit also goes to director Jon S. Baird for creating a cinematic visual treat to go along with McAvoy's screen shredding performance. The visuals pop off the screen as Robertson's mental state starts to unravel. The script, also by Baird is savagely funny and there is never a dull moment here. Sharp, engaging and intelligent, it never dumbs any of the material down for the viewer. Baird's direction is masterful too and unflinching. He never stops pushing the envelope and neither does McAvoy. 

The supporting cast is terrific as well. With Imogen Poots as his only female competition for his promotion and the best candidate; she is smart, sexy and classy. Jim Broadbent is having fun as Robertson's therapist, too. Brian McCardie, Emun Elliot, Gary Lewis, Eddie Marsan and the ever wonderful Jamie Bell round out an outstanding cast that is excellent, as well. Clint Mansell provides another graceful score that punctuates Robertson's battle with himself. 

Filth might have come and gone quickly, not received ANY attention, but don't let that dissuade you from seeing it. Filth is a wild and funny ride and worth tracking down. It is witty, hilarious, sad, filled with surprises and one of the best film's of the year. It is NOT a film for kids, however. Adults only, I'm afraid. Robertson would want it that way, "Same rules apply." Filth-**** out of 4


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