Filth – A Film Review
REVIEWED BY CRITIC, FILM BUFF & BEER CONNOISSEUR F.P. BLUCK
PEEPS: About a dozen.
As well as the usual Dendy ads, we were greeted with a couple that involved retail booze. There were none for tobacco, cocaine, bribery, violence or diverse practices related to close interpersonal physical relationships (including those featuring only the participant), so we had few hints from them. Suffice to say that the feature did not include the jewellery, quirky gifts and healthy food that are the staples of the Dendy pre-show. The correlation between an ad for a picture framing business (operating in consort with a retail art gallery) and a subplot involving a harmless little man may have been unconscious wit.
There were no previews and, in retrospect, it is difficult to think of what may have prepared an audience of lonely souls, huddled in the darkness in the hours following the farewell lunches that have become, again, a regular feature of life in Canberra.
Filth is strong stuff, deserving of its R rating. It is a comedy, of sorts, about a relationship but don’t turn up expecting something like, About Time. Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is an Edinburgh cop with more issues than the Times of London. He may be bipolar, but those around have been happy to feast off his successes. He is a detective sergeant, looking for the promotion that may buy him a few more months or years in the chilly sunshine of the love of his wife, Carole (Shauna McDonald) who has left him but features heavily in his imagined life. He is contemptuous of his colleagues and rivals for the position. He is capable of compassion and action, but not for longer than the heartbeat of an impulse. Robertson has occasional allies. but no friends other than those that come in bottles or in powdered form, snorted with a rolled banknote. He is crude, corrupt, bigoted and brutal, but seems to be capable of being effective at bringing other appalling people to some form of justice.
Robertson’s prospects depend on a result in a murder investigation and in resolving a nuisance to one of his brother Masons. It is at this moment that his stretched lifestyle and fragile mind catch up with him and the nightmare becomes more intense. Some may suggest that this takes the plot too far, but once the line of excess is crossed, it is all a matter of degree. The subplots are needed to show the depth of his ambition and his degradation.
The soundtrack is strange, atmosphere larded with the more trivial end of popular. The dialogue may sometimes have been assisted by subtitles but the intent is always clear as is the trajectory.
Three flat whites. Additional substances optional.