Recently adapting himself to darker roles, James McAvoy soars to British cinema greatness in the latest film from the creators of Trainspotting. Directed by Jon Baird, Filth tells the unconventional story of Bruce Robertson, an offensive and crude Scottish detective sergeant, prepared to betray his colleagues and friends while working on a recent murder case in order to gain a promotion to detective inspector. The narrative is that simple, however the depth the story rapidly intensifies, defying expectations.
While fuelled by sex, drugs and alcohol, Bruce manages to blind his boss (John Sessions) into believing he is the most suitable candidate for the promotion. However, standing in Bruce’s way is his dark past which haunts him on a regular basis making him the man he is now, and feisty fellow colleague Amanda Drummond (Imogen Poots), his only peer who isn’t fooled by the bravado he displays, and doesn’t have a problem expressing her harsh views and opinions to him.
Comedy acts as the primary genre within the first half of the film but suddenly and drastically changes halfway through when we begin exploring Bruce’s psyche on a deeper and more personal level. This dynamic of genres has been explored within British films many of times, and it’s hard not to think of Filth as this decades Trainspotting. It’s hard to believe this is only Baird’s second feature film; his method of storytelling runs smoother, with a stamp of sheer quality, than some films produced by A-List Hollywood directors of today.
McAvoy stuns in this role: it’s a shame films such as this won’t get the award recognition it truly deserves. One minute you love him, one minute you hate him, one minute you want to kill him, one minute you want to take him to get help yourself; so many emotions to portray is a struggle, however, the fine actor that McAvoy is allows him to pull it off seemingly with ease. Supported by Jamie Bell who shines, taking one for the team for many of Bruce’s gags, and rising star Imogen Poots who dazzles with amazing chemistry between herself and McAvoy, Filth proves Britain has a high standard of acting talent waiting to be recognised.
Overall, Filth will make you laugh, make you mad and will make you cry, but most of all it will make you proud to be British, demonstrating what we as a small country can produce in terms of modern cinema.