Film review: Baird's scabrous tale Filth is fuzzy in the head
Dir. Jon S Baird. Starring James McAvoy, Eddie Marsan, 97mins
Friday 04 October 2013
Upon its publication in 1998, shortly after the adaptation of Trainspotting had made him a literary sensation, Irvine Welsh's scabrous and quite disgusting novel Filth seemed like a perverse attempt to write something unfilmable. For what it's worth, 15 years on, this diluted adaptation suggests that he succeeded.
James McAvoy does his best to overcome his innate likeableness but is still miscast as Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson: a corrupt, coke-snorting, prostitute-visiting, irredeemably unpleasant character who makes Harvey Keitel's Bad Lieutenant look like Juliet Bravo.
The director Jon S Baird favours exaggerated close-ups and off-kilter compositions, to better describe Robertson's fracturing psyche – but the incoherent storytelling does it just as well. The tone suggests that he's playing for laughs that just aren't forthcoming.
And unfortunately, he doesn't have Danny Boyle's knack for making a low-budget film look polished. So while Filth is probably still the second best film of an Irvine Welsh book, it's far closer to The Acid House and Ecstasy than it is Trainspotting.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 3 Alton Towers Air breaks down: 80 people stuck on broken down Monorail during heatwave
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Alwaleed bin Talal: Saudi Prince to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
The Rolling Stones announce biggest ever touring rock exhibition with Saatchi Gallery
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
'Dukes of Hazzard' pulled from screens by CBS as outcry over Confederate flag grows
Game of Thrones season 6: Release date, plots and dragons - everything we know so far
Glastonbury 2015: The Who mock Kanye West - 'who's the biggest rock star in the world?'
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS