4 October 2013 5:43 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

James McAvoy gives it plenty of welly in the brutal screen version of Irvine Welsh's 1998 novel

This Irvine Welsh tale brings us what amounts to Acid Rain on Leith – on St Swithin's Day. It is a brutal screen version of his 1998 novel about Edinburgh's own bad lieutenant: Detective Sergeant Bruce Robinson, an alcoholic, cokehead bully who is having animal-themed hallucinations. James McAvoy gives it plenty of welly in the lead role and, well … complaining about Welsh being unsubtle is like asking Motörhead if they wouldn't mind awfully turning the noise down.

For the first half-hour it's got a full-on horrible energy, but there isn't enough humour for it to qualify as comedy, and not enough reality or plausible characterisation to justify calling it any sort of procedural noir. (With London accents, this might sound worryingly like the sort of mockney-geezer romp that had its heyday in the Cool Britannia 90s. »

- Peter Bradshaw

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