Take a moment to imagine if Begbie had been the protagonist of Trainspotting. [shudder]. No, I’m not sure that would’ve worked, either. But that’s what I was reminded of as I watched the usually irritatingly bland James McAvoy terrorise the good people of Scotland, in the latest Irvine Welsh novel to make it to the big screen.
McAvoy plays dodgy cop Bruce Robertson who attempts to win a promotion by stitching up the competition while simultaneously trying (not very hard) to solve a murder, find his missing wife and cling on to his rapidly unravelling sanity.
Robertson is one of the most deeply unpleasant characters I’ve seen on film in a while, and at times I wondered why I was even watching him. As the film progresses, though, there’s a vulnerability to the character and it becomes hard not to empathise with what is actually a very sad little man in the midst of a mental breakdown.
Filth is quite well-paced, if a little uneven and suffers from trying to cover too much content in too short a time (I’ve not read the book, but I’m sure it was a pretty hefty tome). It’s competently acted with a unique story, some very salty language, a heap of cocaine, some photocopied penises and a smattering of masturbation and sex.