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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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2,067 ( 797)
9 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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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:

No one gets off. Until he does. 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 USA:

$7,526, 1 June 2014

Gross USA:

$34,411

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,373,672
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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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

Gary Lewis, Jim Broadbent and Eddie Marsan previously starred in Gangs of New York (2002). Marsan starred as Broadbent's aide, whilst Lewis frequently tormented Broadbent. See more »

Goofs

After Bruce gets Bladesey drunk and records him doing a Frank Sidebottom impersonation, Bladesey vomits out of his car in front of the Forth Road Bridge. Bladesey said he was going to see his parents, who live in England. The Forth Road Bridge is the main road north out of Edinburgh. 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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Features Frank Sidebottom's Fantastic Shed Show (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Good King Wenceslas
Arranged by Colin Baldry and Tom Kane
Produced by John Cunningham from Here And Now Recordings
Written by John M. Neale (uncredited) and Thomas Helmore (uncredited)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Surprising - the best in bad taste
12 October 2013 | by eonbluedan-1See all my reviews

We have had a few fairly unremarkable adaptations of Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh's books, supporting the notion that with the one exception of Danny Boyle's phenomenal 'Trainspotting', his material remains pretty much impossible to put on the screen. Indeed, 'Trainspotting' itself was not a direct adaption as such, but rather an extrapolation of bits and pieces of it to make a cohesive narrative. In the Welsh lore, 'Filth' is put up there as one of the most difficult, and so it is with great surprise that Jon Baird's take on the book is not only a good piece of work, but also perhaps one of the most accomplished films of 2013!

Our protagonist, as is so often the case with Welsh, is not a person we would choose to meet. Detective Sargent Bruce Robertson is mean-spirited, racist, sexist, aggressive, vindictive, with a psychiatric disorder and a bitter past that won't let him rest, which he seems most happy to appease with a regular cocktail of drink, cocaine and sexual debauchery behind his colleagues' and family's back. Manipulative and out for himself, Bruce has a plan to appear to be solving the case of a murdered local resident, whilst playing all his colleagues off one another with a view to clearing an easy path for his own promotion to Chief Detective.

There are plenty of treats strewn through 'Filth', little cameos, smart, snappy dialogue, great jokes and wonderful performances from the likes of the ever versatile Jim Broadbent and Eddie Marsan. A subtle, schizophrenic soundtrack underscores so well the dark, cesspit nature of the journey the character is on, it raises the question, again, as to whether Clint Mansell will ever do wrong? The whole thing is shot with a seemingly intentional recklessness; an abandonment of sharp editing and an embrace of a sloppy, rough-around-the edges, almost unfocused approach make a film that feels as disgusting as the vomit spewing from character's mouths, both figuratively and, at times, literally!

The star here, however, is James MacEvoy. There has been much said about his performance being an Oscar courting one; whilst there is no guarantee of that, I am confident in saying this is a career-best from him, and this cannot be overstated. Welsh has said he thinks MacEvoy is "better than De Niro in Taxi Driver", and whilst I do not know if I agree with that, we can certainly understand the comparison. MacEvoy is not a man one might immediately cast in this role, and so it makes it all the more impressive when we watch a performance that simultaneously keeps us at a distance and pulls us close; the actor manages to be completely vile, and yet convince us with an equal conviction that he is a man with a buried and forgotten heart that used to pump warmth; I have not seen this level of complexity so well delivered since Peter Mullan in 'Tyrannosaur'. Scabrous, nasty, cold and angry, yet obviously vulnerable and lost, this is a perfectly balanced, well-rounded performance, and MacEvoy is perhaps most impressive when he is being everything at once! In one such scene, he says, "I used to be good at this job," which could well sum up Robertson's rather sad arc. Whatever your final take on him, we get a complete human being, and not one we ever feel the desire to condemn, despite all his awfulness.

In the face of common opinion that it simply wouldn't work, and after years of development, 'Filth' turns out to be a near masterpiece, whose recognition as such is only made less likely by the inevitable comparison with 'Trainspotting'. It is a ballsy adaption of a hugely admired novel, as unpredictable as its central character and charged with the vitriolic energy of the author's writing. A well balanced juggling act of tones; in lesser hands this would have been a mess! It is not always a pleasant watch, but like the central character, it finds its way to a strange, engaging and even rather emotional resolution. Whilst there is likely to be a good forty percent of casual viewers who are left completely cold, the remaining will see a successful, proudly Scottish film that is by turns dark, shocking, comical and moving, which also goes out on an incredibly catchy and surprisingly fitting 70's hit!

'Filth' is the film we would hail as the Irvive Welsh-penned grenade of British cinema, if only Danny Boyle had not got there first.


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