Film Review: “Filth”

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Filth, 2013

dir. Jon S. Baird

★★★★★

Have you ever been literally speechless? Well, that was the state I was in when the words ‘The End’ came on the screen after the lovely cartoon animation they put after Rob said his goodbye.

I was expecting all the sex and drugs and crass language, but what I got was so much more than that! It was gritty and dirty, but heartfelt at moments and, actually, a bit scary. This delves into the human psyche in such a violent manner that it is hard not to get swept up and teared up and choked up.

They shot it in Edinburgh, of course, and it was amazing seeing this dangerous, dirty side of it. I live in Edinburgh, and it always seems so nice, it was a bit of a culture shock, to be honest. But a welcome one, somehow, because it added to the reality of the situation Rob was going through.

And can we just talk about Rob for a second? James McAvoy being so abso-fucking-brilliant. This is Mr Tumnus, this is Charles Xavier, this is freaking Gnomeo, and yet. Such a fabulously stunning performance, he gave this character who had the potential to be completely disgusting a heart, a backstory behind his eyes, so much pain and suffering. I believe Filth is the plot twist of McAvoy’s career, because he has never done anything even remotely like this before. Also, it is so great to actually hear his proper Scottish accent in this movie. (All the Scottish accents, actually – even John Sessions’s one wasn’t half bad.) As I mentioned in my review of Trance, McAvoy sounds his most natural, his most endearing in a way, when he’s speaking in his actual voice. I just love it so much.

Anyway – the rest of the cast was absolutely phenomenal. Imogen Poots was particularly exquisite as Amanda Drummond. A true BAMF. And Jamie Bell was hateful, which was also refreshing, because that’s not who he usually plays.

They work together as this ensemble in this freak circus, and it’s so raw to watch, like a car crash, yet you can’t look away. But in a good way.

The soundtrack for this? Stupendous. It’s a character in the picture in itself, lively and upbeat and painful. Renditions of some famous songs, made even more relevant, I think, as they merged with Rob’s emotions, followed him down the rabbit whole he dug himself. Stunning.

Lastly – Rob’s mind. How they managed to capture his insanity so incredibly. I was gripping the edge of my seat. We don’t know what’s real anymore because we’re stuck in his insane mind that’s spiralling out of control, and it’s an unbelievably joyous ride.

Seriously, I could not recommend this more. (Unless you’re squeamish or have an issue with seeing penises.) It is most certainly one of the best British films of the year.

review by Mariana Duarte

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