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Monday, September 29, 2014

Filth Review

Filth is the kind of movie that does a lot of things wrong. The tone is all over the place, the plot feels like it's missing a quarter of necessary development, and it has a third act twist that's... actually the best plot twist I've seen in years. I mean, for better or worse, you won't see it coming.

But either way, this movie is not for the faint of heart and it doesn't give two sh*ts about your American sensibilities. I.E., you're gonna need subtitles to cut through the brogue. But if you like James McAvoy the way I do, you're going to love almost every second of this. Because he is amazing in almost every second of this.

McAvoy is Bruce, a Scottish police detective currently estranged from his apparently swinging wife. If he can secure a juicy promotion, she may let him see her and his child again. It's just a game they're playing and Bruce will do anything it takes. Not actual police work, mind, but the complete and total assassination of all his competitor's characters.      

The photography throughout is absotootly, posilootly, gorgeous.

Bruce is a delusional, paranoid, alcoholic, drug addled, manipulative, and physically abusive monster. But you won't be able to look away. Sometimes the people under his wrath are just as unsettling as he is, but mostly they're trusting innocents. I'm ashamed to admit how long it took into Eddie Marsan's con before I finally turned against Bruce. If you thought Marsan could pull off the lovable goofball in The World's End you're gonna love him even more in Filth. He'll beak your heart even more here, too.

McAvoy is electrifying. Charming and magnetic even when his life is crashing around his ears. He'd be a cartoonish villain, but winds up being a fascinating protagonist.

The movie is at it's best when it's hoping around in between the ancillary murder case and each of Bruce's long cons. But, and this is a common problem in plenty of legitimately great movies, there are third act problems. Imogen Poot's character becomes one of the most interesting points of the film. Unfortunatly there are only 15 minutes left by then and she hadn't really mattered for an hour and a half at least.

On the flip side, there is way too much of Jim Broadbent's psychologist. I mean, I love the guy, and I liked the "find the fish" vibe his scenes have, but man... a little goes a long way. Likewise, the flash hallucinations Bruce has sometimes where his collegues wear rubber animal masks gets overplayed. And that motif leads to the only stylistic choice that falls flat on it's face. It's the credits, and while I like the idea of it, it just doesn't work. You'll see what I mean.

Though I'll take a raucously original detective thriller that's only partially successful, than well made formula. Like I said, you've never seen anything exactly like Filth. Sure; it has lot in common with Trainspotters and such, but when was the last time you saw a druggie movie as fun as that? Right? It's been a while, hasn't it?

So if this is your bag, pour yourself a drink (it's recommended, but not necessary) and get your butt to Netflix.

The photography is, again, stunning.

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