If you're worried about spoilers for a foreign indie from nearly 10 years ago, you're a twat, and you should definitely tread lightly with this review because SPOILER it contains spoilers for the Scot-core, would-be brilliant madness that is Filth.
"University Of California" Irvine Welsh is a legend to some and, despite his substantial success as an author, unknown to more. He wrote the novel that became the movie Trainspotting, and he's been trying to capture that lightning in a bottle ever since. Trainspotting is a classic that people have understandably rewatched more times than the average doper shoots up in a day. Those same people may have a hard time finishing Filth and probably won't watch it a second time short of a drunken dare or sex-incented bet.
Welsh once again sets his story in Scotland and focuses it on a junkie. This time, the junkie, Bruce (James "Big" McAvoy), is a cokehead rather than a smackhead, and he's a mid-level cop rather than a low level criminal. You'll immediately recognize him as a Welsh creation, though, because he shares the same nihilistic, sociopathic, I'm-the-smartest-guy-in-a-room-full-of-morons "personality" as the rest of Welsh's characters. That, and he does the mile a minute list reading narration thing that worked so well as "Choose life . . ." in Trainspotting but just feels sadly grasping in Filth.
Bruce is up for a life-changing promotion at work. He's also the lead detective on a murder. If he solves the murder, he's pretty much guaranteed the promotion. Instead of working harder than a British dentist to unmask the murderer, Bruce puts all his effort into sabotaging his competition. He goes to ridiculous lengths to make everyone think one coworker is gay. He sleeps with another one's wife to undermine his confidence. He makes sure everyone knows that a third has a toddler cock.
That all might be entertaining if the "big reveal" later in the movie wasn't the fact that Bruce witnessed the fucking murder. No shit neither. From the jump, he knows who the murderers are and how to find them, but he decides to take the Great Circle route to the promotion instead because . . . he's a complete fucking tosser, I guess?
In fairness, Bruce is also borderline insane, but still. Who the fuck tells a story this way? Daft cunts, that's who.
October 8, 2021