Bruce Robertson is a sexist, bigoted, sex and drug addicted sociopath. He is also a police sergeant and the anti-hero of Filth adapted from the novel by Trainspotting writer Irvine Welsh.
During the Christmas holidays, Bruce (‘Robbo’ to his mates) is put in charge of a high profile murder enquiry. He uses the case to lobby for a promotion to Detective Chief Inspector. He is in competition for the post with four fellow officers and delights in playing mind games with each for his own enjoyment and to look better by comparison. He’s not above using deceitful, harassing, threatening behaviour or blackmail to cause trouble.
James MacAvoy is absolutely sensational. Bruce burns the candle at both ends with his indulgence and MacAvoy illustrates that with aplomb - his eyes are constantly bloodshot, he says and does everything with such intensity and he always looks like he’s been awake for days. It’s an acting tour de force.
Filth is very Irvine Welsh; the graphic depiction of sex and drug use, and the colloquial Scottish dialect naturally make it reminiscent of ‘Trainspotting’. Furthermore, it shares similar surrealistic qualities. Filth wouldn’t appeal to everyone, but is excellent and one of the year’s best films.