Irvine Welsh is an author known for many things. He is known for delivering us compelling tales that hold up a mirror to the absolute worst parts of ourselves. This was apparent in 1996, when his hit Novel Trainspotting got turned into a breakout film of the same name, not only for its Director (Danny Boyle) but for its lead actor as well (Ewan McGregor). Welsh once again felt the need to write a tale that made us look intrinsically at the way society and its members struggle to hold onto sanity, in his novel entitled Filth. Welsh has a habit of choosing stories that skip the niceties of normalcy and expectations and deliver instead a very blunt look into lives that are hard to look at straight on. Filth is no exception and thanks in large part to James McAvoy’s unbelievable ability to adapt to nearly every role he takes on, it became a unique and twisted film that I, for one, applaud for its attempt.
Our story follows Detective Bruce Robertson, a man who has lost all sense of self and decency. On a mission to get that promotion he has been working toward, he would need to destroy the lives around him (of course, this is the only way to get his family back). As the story progresses we see Bruce slip further and further away from sanity, into a dystopian version of reality where he is not the villain of the story. With twists and turns along the way, we find that even the secrets we know about aren’t the biggest twists the film has to offer.
This film simply does not work without McAvoy. He not only sells it with his grand performance but he becomes this role (apparently he drank a half of a bottle of whiskey every night to get into character). It is no surprise that he has become one of “those actors” that can do just about anything. This film is different and, don’t get me wrong, there are definitely moments where it is vulgar for the sake of being vulgar. However, there is some charm in its villainy with the constant threat of its “antihero”.
The Film 3/5
Experienced DOP (Director of Photography) Matthew Jensen took the helm for Filth and alongside Director Jon S. Baird, they brought Irvine Welsh’s vision to life. It hard to describe this film any other way (trust me when I say I have been trying to avoid it) than using the word filthy. I have not personally read the novel but I cannot imagine they strayed away from much of anything. The film manages to be as in-your-face as possible in every moment and the way they are able to bring his insanity to life is just plain fun to watch. Perfect for home viewing, Blu-Ray does well to highlight every filthy moment you want to turn away from.
Picture Quality 5/5
There could not have been a better choice to deliver us the score for the madness of a film. None other than the legendary Clint Mansell, who is probably most known for his work on Requiem For a Dream, delivers a perfect and memorable soundtrack. One of the most notable and beautiful song choices is the unique cover of “Creep” by Radiohead. Which may or may not be the perfect chosen song for the film. At home, I found the experience wonderful and the varying degrees of audio did not suffer through the journey from the big screen to the small one.
Audio Quality 5/5
I find the packaging, if nothing else, a bit disappointing. We have the standard eco-case with little to no effort given to make the packaging stand out. There were several adverts I have seen during research for this film and I am shocked that the one with McAvoy riding a pig was not chosen as the final cover art. Other than that, the case seems sturdy enough and no slipcover came with the edition I received although I cannot say for certain if it was ever available.
I was definitely hoping for some quality behind the scene looks into the world of this film. The extras do include some great insight and interviews from cast and crew. With a heavy focus, deservedly, being on McAvoy and Welsh. It could maybe have used a couple more featurettes but I think it’s safe to say that we have enough content here for the film we received. The Special Features included are as follows:
- Commentary with Director Jon S Baird and Irvine Welsh
- Deleted, Extended and Alternate Scenes
- On the Set: Merry Filthmas
- A short featurette behind the scenes of what is most likely the most memorable scene in the film: The Office Christmas Party.
- James McAvoy as Detective Bruce Robertson: The Antihero
- Welsh and Baird talk about the casting choice of McAvoy and how their hesitation was quickly relieved by McAvoy’s abilities
- AXS TV: a look at Filth
- McAvoy himself takes us through what the film is about.
- Also from Magnolia Home Entertainment
Special Features 5/5
For lack of a better immediate term Filth is aptly named (used as double meaning as “filth” is a derogatory term used for police overseas as well). The film takes us to the parts of our brains that we pretend don’t exist and are desperately trying to ignore. There is a widely used subtext of mental illness throughout and not only for our main character as is customary for Welsh, who likes to hold a mirror to society and makes us look at how disgusting we can be. This is accomplished by following the main characters break from the chains of sanity. As our main character goes further down his rabbit hole, so do we. It takes the audience through this journey effortlessly and, for that, I applaud the director and even more McAvoy. The film for me is worth owning simply because it points so well to McAvoy’s abilities as a growing actor and we still may not have seen his limits. If nothing else, the film is pure entertainment leaving you wondering what could possibly happen next. You can purchase this edition HERE.
Overall ⅗ – Buy it for McAvoy