Ardent fans of Irvine Welsh will be somewhat pleased by the adaptations of his work thus far. Danny Boyle did a superb job of not only making Trainspotting a contemporary zeitgeist destroying dramadey, but also in creating a trend for adaptations of books that transcend the original source material. Finding one of your favourite movies is such a treat, you can usually tell by the halfway point whether or not a film has managed this, and for me, Filth managed it tremendously quickly.
Never before have I been able to jump into a story as engaging, volatile, vicious and disgusting as the one created in Filth. James McAvoy stars as Bruce Robertson, a bigoted and drug addled copper looking to pave a personal path to promotion, concocting a tumultuous and threatening environment among his peers. McAvoy is a phenomenal performer, and it’s his work in Filth that impresses me the most. He’s engaging enough to care for, but horrid enough to loathe, and it’s a balance that the film manages to hold the whole way through.
His performance dabbles in as many social issues as it can. Grief, drug abuse, back-stabbing, shady dealings and more feature throughout a plot that’s filled to the brim with inherently dark sight gags and black humour. Thematically, it’s definitely similar to Trainspotting and that’s clearly because Welsh’s writing vaguely differs between the two texts. Filth is much more psychedelic though, relying on visual bumps and jumps in the face of a bold and brash storytelling experience.
Breaking the fourth wall and blending it into the narrative of the film is never an easy experience, but McAvoy’s performance makes it truly seamless and only adds to the underlying charm of the film. Jim Broadbent has a great supporting role, as do Eddie Marsan and Imogen Poots. It’s a film relying strongly on its recognisable cast members, all of which offer up some intense and entertaining performances.
Jon S. Baird, responsible for the well-rounded biopic Stan & Ollie, tries his hand at adaptation of an already written text and excels superbly. This McAvoy led crime and comedy caper has all the right ingredients to create a perfectly memorable movie, and it’s possibly one of the greatest movies to come out of the 21st century so far.