James McAvoy stars in director Jon S. Baird's outrageous dark comedy based on the book by Irvine Welsh, and centered on the exploits of a debauched cop on a mission to crack a murder case, earn a big promotion, and win back his estranged wife. Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson (McAvoy) is unlike any cop on the force. A pervert, a drug addict, and an irredeemable jerk, he thinks he's in control, even as his life spirals into oblivion. Now, in order to earn a major promotion, Detective Robertson will actually have to work, instead of hustling his way though each day in a haze of drugs and alcohol. Meanwhile, the harder he tries to get a grip, the further his future seems to slip out of reach. Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent, Imogen Poots, Shirley Henderson, and Joanne Froggat co-star.~Jason Buchanan
Deleted, extended and alternate scenes
On the set: Merry Filthmas
James McAvoy as detective Bruce Robertson: the antihero
AXS TV: a look at Filth
Commentary with director Jon S. Baird and author Irvine Welch
To the ranks of twisted anti-hero lawmen—to the hall of fame that includes Harvey Keitel's Bad Lieutenant in the film of the same name, Michael Chiklis' Vic Mackey in The Shield, Ian McShane's Al Swearingen in Deadwood and, before he got cuddly, Dennis Franz's Andy Sipowicz in NYPD Blue—let us add James McAvoy's Bruce Robertson, the drug-addled, megalomaniac Det. Sergeant bucking for promotion on the Edinburgh police force in writer/director Jon S. Baird's Filth. Nothing in McAvoy's previous work, whether as the young Charles Xavier in the X-Men prequels, the reluctant assassin-trainee in Wanted or the wrongly accused lover in Atonement, suggested such gusto in embracing depravity.
Depravity is familiar territory for Scottish author Irvine Welsh, who wrote the original novel of Filth, which had seemed to be unfilmable until Baird and his producing partner, Ken Marshall, approached Welsh with their concept. (Eventually there would be several dozen producers and executive producers, including Welsh and McAvoy.) Welsh wrote Trainspotting, which was memorably filmed by director Danny Boyle in a hallucinatory style that captured the highs and lows of drug addiction and featured Ewan McGregor's heroin-addled dive into "the worst toilet in Scotland". As revolting as the scene remains, Boyle also made it darkly funny and visually arresting, and Baird seemed to have a similar take on Filth, whereas other potential adapters aimed for something unrelentingly grim and gritty. With Welsh's blessing, Baird set about making the major changes required for the novel's successful transition to the screen.
McAvoy's involvement and Welsh's endorsement helped attract financing and additional talent, even though Baird himself had only one feature film to his credit, the 2008 bio-pic Cass. Released in the fall of 2013 in the U.K., Filth was a major hit in Scotland and did respectable business throughout Great Britain. In the United States, it is being distributed by Magnolia Pictures through video-on-demand, a limited theatrical release and now on Blu-ray.
Crazy, surreal nightmare of a movie propelled by McAvoy's brilliant performance as a detective slowly coming unhinged while working a case around the holidays and angling for a promotion. The humor is about as pitch black as it gets, and McAvoy's character will probably offend just about everyone who watches this. If you're not easily offended by crude humor and language, check this one out.
James McAvoy gives the performance of his career in this twisted movie that will have you cringing at times but makes it impossible to turn away if for no other reason than to see what depraved thing he will do next.
As good an adaptation of the novel as I could have hoped for. While the film may not be for everyone if you enjoy the work of Irvine Welsh or are a fane of black/dark comedy this film will not disappoint. The cast is wonderful and James McAvoy becomes the character of Bruce. Don't miss this one a true gem.