Filth (UK - BD RB)
Marcus thinks this Scottish Policeman MIGHT be on drugs. Just a guess...
Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) gorges himself on a mixture of cocaine, alcohol and sexually abusive relationships all whilst plotting to get one over on his colleagues in his quest for a promotion. Longing to be with his family, Bruce soon finds his life spiraling out of control and his psychological issues combine to loosen his grip on reality and push him over the edge.
Filth, which is based on the Irvine Welsh book, as if you didn’t know is immediately wild, full of madcap depictions of its characters and jammed packed full of brilliant descriptions of their goings on. McAvoy, who I don’t always buy 100% in his roles, immediately charms the hell out of his character even with his much celebrated dark side that is always front and centre. The twisted but fun dialogue he has spits out of his mouth in ways that totally embrace Welsh's much loved words and at each and every turn his antics do something else to spin your head around.
Despite the strong support cast, it's McAvoy that leads this party and he bounces off of his back ups very well indeed. Jamie Bells little roll is a great whipping boy for McAvoy to toy with and Eddie Marsan carries the rest of the whipping when Bell isn’t about. Jim Broadbent's tiny but crazy role has him odder than he's ever been before (including that time he turned into a couch in Harry Potter) and really everyone here is dialed up on the manic scale for the sake of the films growing insanity. Oh and then there’s the David Soul cameo. Once that happens it ups the game further and the insanity really takes over after that.
Speaking of the insanity, the elements with Bruce's feisty wife talking of her and her husband’s relationship really starts to become the oddity in amongst the craziness (if that's even possible). It starts to become clear what’s really eating at Bruce and these scenes somehow strengthen the underlining emotional core of the story and enables them to grow. This is all quite a surprise given how much the film's events seemingly wants us to hate Bruce but still they somehow makes us want to hold on to him as his life falls apart.
However, despite the ever increasing manic nature of events there really is no predicting where this all winds up. To say more would be a disservice to the film but when a big part of the film becomes clear, this already bizarre film goes all the more odd, all while almost becoming more straight forward. The “twist” in all of its glory, somehow makes all this make a little more sense (though it shouldn’t) and everything seems to level off because of it. Sure it still leaves unanswered questions but at the same time it raises more interesting ones surrounding whats really been going on with Bruce.
The hazy often retro visuals here come with some deep glossy black levels when the film is at its darkest. There’s a a great use of cold lighting and colouring throughout and there’s some well textured detail. Clothing and costumes look pretty fantastic throughout, especially with woolen items. The same goes for skin tones, which remain natural in the cold Scottish setting, especially while set out doors.
The haze of the back lighting in some scenes adds to the grainy feel of the visuals, it also blasts out some of the sharper edges but this is all a style choice as opposed to a defect. Within this hazy exterior scenes we are still able to see the realistic textures of a character's cold faces, with red cheeks or cold noses and such and all the interiors usually have a cool blue/grey look to them to add a visual flare to the fairly simply shot film.
Some elements really manage to pop. McAvoy’s ice blue eyes here can draw you into all of his more emotional scenes. The night set scenes, such as in some of the seedier clubs in the film can look fantastic, especially with warm orange light to make it glow. Then there's some of the weirder imagery that really leaps off of the screen to make you jump as much as they make the characters react.
This is a solid modern HD presentation. The haziness holds it back from shining but the image is still a crisp, stylistic, cold image that sells the mood of the twisted film very well, without letting the crazier elements run amok and pull us into cartoony stuff. That's actually a bit ironic because the credits are actually a cartoon – and it looks great!
The crystal clear bass backed soundtrack starts the film strongly and the expected Trainspotting style voice overs sit boldly in the center speaker and often feels like McAvoy is in the room. The balanced, yet sometimes manic blend of dialogue and music works very well and every element works across their many volume levels.
Sometimes the shortest sharpest piece of music has the most impact. The odd bit of organ music or rock number really packs a punch and mixed with some of the crazier imagery of the film creates a great combination for impact. The David Soul cameo mentioned above sounds great, the credits sound awesome and generally all musical elements work wonders. There’s a few subtle bits going on in the rears but really this is dialogue with a nice bit of music to back it up in small instances and it works for film very well.
The audio commentary with Irvine Welsh and Jon S. Baird is two Scots casually working through the film and their easy collaboration is felt. The pair bounce off of each other well and give us a solid behind the scenes commentary that fills us in on the film's production.
Next there’s interviews with McAvoy, Welsh and Bairdall. It’s all press kit type stuff but still enjoyable and McAvoy seems genuinely chuffed he got the role.
Then there’s the deleted and extended Scenes which add a few extra elements and lastly some outtakes, which are all pretty damn funny.
Filth is of course dark, crazy and pretty shocking stuff just like you would expect from Irvine Welsh’s work but it's also incredibly funny. On top of that and usually never mentioned when talking all things Welsh, it’s also really quite loaded with emotional drama. Baird draws out a truly horrid character with McAvoy's help but Bruce is a lead that you can’t really help but feel for by about the midway point and it makes the film much more than just a series of semi-offensive lines or a simple fun dark comedy. There’s a lot going on here and all of it is a blast. The disc itself looks great, sounds great and while not loaded with extras has enough to be happy with.
Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 10th February 2014
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Subtitles: English HoH
Extras: Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Extended Scenes, Outakes, Interviews
Easter Egg: No
Director: Jon S. Baird
Cast: James McAvoy, Joanne Froggatt , Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent, Eddie Marsan
Genre: Comedy and Drama
Length: 97 minutes
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