Starts October 17, 2013
Directed by: Jon S. Baird
Writing credits: Jon S. Baird, Irvine Welsh novel
Cast: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots, Eddie Marsan, Joanne Froggatt, Shirley Henderson, Jim Broadbent, Emun Elliott, Kate Dickie, Martin Compston, Gary Lewis, Brian McCardie, Shauna Macdonald, John Sessions
Length: 97 minutes
Bruce Robertson (McAvoy) is proud to be Scottish, “such a uniquely successful race”; married to “the ultimate tease” (Macdonald), his police colleagues envy him. Undeservedly, considering Bruce is a corrupt, oversexed, bigoted, cokehead. Under the pretext of concern for his family’s welfare, his energy is focused on getting the Detective Inspector promotion. Figuring the odds of each co-worker’s chance at the job, he then scurrilously sets about to destroy them, one by one. Chief Inspector Toal (Sessions), as clueless of Bruce as his subordinates or his partner Ray (Bell) are, puts Bruce in charge of a brutal, racially charged homicide that demands a quick closure. As he leads the team, at every opportunity Bruce manipulates facts, plants lies among themselves, and screws a colleague’s wife. His doctor (Broadbent) is duped as well.
Then Bruce gets the additional responsibility to find whoever is behind harassing phone calls to the wife (Henderson) of a generous Police Lodge supporter (Marsan). Bruce’s slippery-slope teeters more precariously, his hallucinations intensify. But a chance action, that of coming to someone’s aid and her return kindnesses, set Bruce’s emotions in conflict. Can this course be altered? Is his sanity cable of salvaging this self-induced filth? Echoing Bruce’s bipolarity, we shift between realities: clues are given, facts exposed—we see yet remain oblivious. Not for the weak of heart, this black knife-edged comedy/drama is well directed and acted. James McAvoy certainly proves his thespian command. Clint Mansell’s original music effectively cycles us between the high and low episodes in Jon S. Baird’s screenplay. Matthew Jensen captures the visual variations, backed by Mark Eckersley’s nimble nips and cuts. In the U.K. ‘filth’ is slang, mainly pejorative, for the police and, as in the 1998 novel of the same name, indicative of the protagonist – “same rules apply…” eh, Bruce. ( )