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Filth (2013)

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A corrupt, junkie cop with bipolar disorder attempts to manipulate his way through a promotion in order to win back his wife and daughter while also fighting his own inner demons.

Director:

Jon S. Baird

Writers:

Jon S. Baird, Irvine Welsh (based on the novel by)
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Popularity
2,552 ( 402)
9 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Based on the events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970s.

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Stars: James McAvoy, Forest Whitaker, Gillian Anderson
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James McAvoy ... Bruce
Jamie Bell ... Lennox
Eddie Marsan ... Bladesey
Imogen Poots ... Drummond
Brian McCardie ... Gillman
Emun Elliott ... Inglis
Gary Lewis ... Gus
John Sessions ... Toal
Shauna Macdonald ... Carole
Jim Broadbent ... Dr. Rossi
Joanne Froggatt ... Mary
Kate Dickie ... Chrissie
Martin Compston ... Gorman
Iain De Caestecker ... Ocky
Shirley Henderson ... Bunty
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Storyline

Scheming Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy), a bigoted and corrupt policeman, is in line for a promotion and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Enlisted to solve a brutal murder and threatened by the aspirations of his colleagues, including Ray Lennox (Jamie Bell), Bruce sets about ensuring their ruin, right under the nose of unwitting Chief Inspector Toal. As he turns his colleagues against one another by stealing their wives and exposing their secrets, Bruce starts to lose himself in a web of deceit that he can no longer control. His past is slowly catching up with him, and a missing wife, a crippling drug habit and suspicious colleagues start to take their toll on his sanity. The question is: can he keep his grip on reality long enough to disentangle himself from the filth? Written by Lionsgate UK

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This Little Piggy went to town! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use, language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | Sweden | Belgium | USA

Language:

English | German | Scots

Release Date:

24 April 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brud See more »

Filming Locations:

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£247,860 (United Kingdom), 29 September 2013, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,526, 30 May 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$34,321, 20 July 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James McAvoy revealed in an interview that he would drink up to half a bottle of whiskey every night so that his character looked rough and hungover. See more »

Goofs

While on holiday in Hamburg, Bladesey reads from his guidebook and tells Bruce that modern Germany has existed since 1865. German unification happened in 1871. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Carole: People ask me, "Carole, how do you and Bruce keep the spice in your marriage?" Well, I tell them it's really simple. I'm just the ultimate tease.
[walking down the hallway in lingerie]
Carole: Me and Bruce, we're not that different. We know what we want. We know how to get it. Like this promotion he's going for. We both know he'll win. And when he does, the Robertson household is gonna be one big, happy family again. I kid you not.
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Crazy Credits

Light-hearted animation featuring farm animals and cast credits. See more »

Connections

References 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Winter Wonderland
(Inst)
Written by Felix Bernard © 1934
Arranged by Clint Mansell
Published by Francis Day & Hunter Ltd
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Joyful depravity. Enough said!
25 September 2013 | by TheSquissSee all my reviews

Mister Tumnus, I've a feeling we're not in Narnia any more…

Think you know James McAvoy? Think again. His performance in Jon S. Baird's adaptation of Irving Welsh's Filth is astounding and there is nothing sweet or fluffy about it or any other aspect of the film. Filth is very funny, very wrong, very sordid and very likely to incite hatred from Daily Mail readers across the land. Sex, drugs, more sex, more drugs, violence, corruption, depravity, even more sex and drugs… Filth is absolutely, well, filthy, and is a memorable experience to say the least.

My companion for the screening, Bag, made two comments that stood out post-screening. The first I agree with entirely: "With the thousands of films I've seen over the years, this is the first one I've come out of wishing that I'd made it." The second, that it was a film to appreciate rather than enjoy, I'm going dispute. Call me debauched, immoral and twisted, but I enjoyed every last nanosecond of Filth.

But that's not to say it is always easy viewing. Far from it. Sometime after the midway point the laughs die down, the stomach churns a little more uneasily, the grimaces are more evident and the intakes of breath are more audible. We are less willing to forgive but, like the car crash up ahead that has caused all the drivers in front to rubber-neck, well, just one long look as we pass can't hurt, can it?

Bruce Robertson (McAvoy) is a bigot. He's bi-polar, a junkie, sex-obsessed, self-obsessed, manipulative and frequently thoroughly unpleasant. He's also a cop. With a promotion in the balance, Bruce is up against several colleagues and sets about turning one against the other, unsettling them with salacious gossip and blatant lies to ensure he beats them to the post. Throw in his manipulation of fellow freemason Bladesey (Eddie Marsan), his sultry wife, Carole (Shauna MacDonald) and his hallucinatory sessions with Doctor Rossi (Jim Broadbent) and you have one monumentally screwed up anti-hero. And what's not to love about that?

The Cohen brothers may have the monopoly on fantastic character names, but nobody writes actual characters like Welsh and the cast that Baird has poured into Filth is staggeringly good in their interpretation of this mess of freaks and misfits. There isn't a poor performance in the entire film from the uncertain laddishness of Ray (Jamie Bell) to the fantastic absurdity of Doctor Rossi. While none are bona fide Hollywood stars, the cast that glitters in a maniacal, dirty way is a treat beyond expectation: Imogen Poots, Shirley Henderson, Gary Lewis (yes, Billy Elliott and his dad are reunited at last!), John Sessions, Joanne Froggatt…

Filth is a perfectly paced film; it roars ahead stirring emotions and judgment, exciting and thrilling as it trashes everything in its wake but it is never so fast that we feel left behind or that we've missed out on a juicy morsel of degeneracy. Sufficient time is allowed for us to filter through, as best we can, the quagmire that is Bruce's life, but Baird never pauses or permits us time to glance at our watch or neighbour.

The soundtrack, too, is bang on the money stamping though a musical landscape that is at times acceptably cheesy and more often a reminder of what to check is on the iPod. Where else can you effortlessly segue from David Soul into Shaking' Stevens? While the latter is consigned to audio wallpaper, the bizarrely fantastic cameo from David Soul is a delight. Had Dennis Potter snorted cocaine Pennies From Heaven might have resembled this.

Yes, there are elements of Welsh's novel that are missing (no police dogs here…) from Filth but there always have to be excisions for film adaptations and there's no reason, in this instance at least, to mark down a film for that. No, Filth is superb and as near to perfect as I've seen for many months (since Broken and Trance).

If the trailer excited you, take the plunge. If you're a nun, a granny, my mother, or lack a strong stomach and nurture your prudishness, take a very long, very fast walk in the direction of something much safer. Dixon of Dock Green this ain't!

If you look in the mirror and see something slightly off-kilter grinning back, however…

For more reviews from The Squiss, subscribe to my blog and like the Facebook page.


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