Liz: 3.9 out of 5 stars

A lovely Christmas season family-friendly film. JUST KIDDING, IT’S NOT AT ALL. Goodness, Filth, directed by Jon S. Baird, and starring James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, and many others, is one of those movies that changed my mind completely by the end of it. I started watching and was pretty sure that I did not like it very much at all. However, it took a giant turn in an unexpected way and I loved it.


Quick summary: Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson (McAvoy) is a really awful person whose main goal, amongst other schemes and pranks, is to win the promotion to Detective Inspector in his precinct by heading the investigation of the murder of a Japanese boy.

filth_2690571kLet’s begin with why I did not like this film to begin with. The characters were just awful!!!!!! It’s not that they were poorly written or boring (quite the opposite actually); they were just really crude, terrible, cruel people (especially Robertson). The excessive misogyny, homophobia, etc that were displayed by Bruce was almost too much to bear for my perhaps too-sensitive personality. I understand that it was part of the character, but it was too much to handle. Bruce was exaggerated obviously, but it was crude and I guess I’m not used to so much of it at every single scene and I felt that it almost wasn’t tasteful at times. The title of the movie is quite accurate for all the stuff that Bruce does. After finally finishing the movie though, it seems like that wasn’t such a big deal.

James McAvoy’s acting was GREAT. I was very impressed with his performance of a clearly unstable (trying not to give too much away), corrupt, manipulative man. His character was detestable and I hated him but by the climax of the film, I saw that Bruce had way more layers to him than I previously thought. There’s a great scene between him and Imogen Poots when he becomes extremely vulnerable and open for the quickest of moments.  McAvoy portrayed despicable, manic, scary all at the same time and by the end of the movie, I surprisingly felt really bad for him. I knew I always loved McAvoy since the first time I saw him as Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 

Also shoutout to Jamie Bell. He wasn’t really that important in the movie, but I love him so there you go.

To go on, Filth seemed like a not-too-serious film when it started. I thought it was more of a comedy, as I didn’t know too much about it when I started it. However, I was impressed by the huge turn it took towards the end. There were flashes of something strange or secret about Bruce, but I didn’t know what. When I finally figured out what was going on, I really appreciated the story and what it was trying to accomplish/show.

Finally, I really enjoyed the super fast-paced style of the movie — the conversations, events, etc.– that reminded me a whole lot of Snatch. Also, there were really bizarre scenes, primarily with Jim Broadbent, that were kind of scary but I appreciated how it lent that uncomfortable/unstable feel of the film. Lastly, I just really like the music, particularly when Bruce and Clifford Blades (Eddie Marsan) are in Germany and 99 Red Balloons is playing. It was hilarious and I also very much enjoyed when Bruce drugged Blades (awful!) and he was dancing with the lights around his shoulders in the bar.

So, ultimately, I rate this movie higher than I thought I would have when I had only seen half of the film. The movie was clever, funny, crude, really inappropriate, and surprising. I originally didn’t plan on finishing the film, but I’m really glad that I gave it a chance in the end.