Filth (2013)

How do you describe a movie that is quintessential Scottish to an international audience?  Based on the Irwin Walsh book of the same title, we chart the journey of a corrupt, drugged fueled detective, who is manipulating his situation to gain promotion in order to win back his wife.

If you are wondering the style here, then think back to the 1996 when Trainspotting hit the silver screen (complete with subtitles for the American audience).  If you enjoyed that style of story, with its colourful wit and dialogue then Filth is the unofficial followup you have been waiting for.

Bruce: See, every time a woman drops her trousers: promotion. Every time a man drops theirs: disciplinary action. Where’s the equality in that?

Those native to UK, will recognize every actor that pops up in Filth, as they are well known for various things that don’t necessarily find an audience outside of the UK.  

James McAvoy is one of the big names however, playing the leading role of Bruce.  Pretty much every scene has Bruce in it, as the story is told through his eyes.

Though those eyes will confuse you as there are many a drug induced trance that we get to see his fantasies and nightmares play out with him.  We see Bruce through his kinky sex games, including strangulation (or erotic asphyxiation for those wishing the correct term).  McAvoy throws himself at this, because that scene the rope was definitely cutting off his airways – what an actor will do for their art.


There are some seriously belly laughing scenes that see’s Bruce attempting to get the upper hand.  For example, at a Christmas party with his work colleagues, they talk themselves into a game of that well known Scottish work game spot the cock.  They all photo copy their cocks and the ladies have to guess who’s is who.  Bruce, sneakily raises the magnification on the photocopier to win the contest and bag one of the ladies in the cupboard.  Her face when she realizes she was duped is classic.


What made you join the Force?
Bruce: Police oppression, brother.
Bladesey: You wanted to stamp it out from the inside?
Bruce: No, I wanted to be a part of it.

Filth has a lot going on and I am not sure most of its humour will hit home outside of its home market.  Which is a shame, because it is a wonderful dark comedy that should be given a chance.   As noted, if you found Trainspotting funny, then you will enjoy Filth.

The movie title is very clever on a number of levels.  Filth can of course refer to the state of Bruce’s life and how he lives with his drugs, drinking, vomiting in the street and waking up in his car after failing to get home.  Filth as we see the under belly of Edinburgh and all that if can offer.  Or Filth, the nickname that the Police are known as.

If you are up for a movie with rapid fast talking Scottish characters, clever dialogue, a dash of kinky sex with a liberal helping of sarcasm then you can’t go wrong with Filth.   


Viewing Date
Tuesday, 1st September 2015

7 out of 10

IMDB YouTubeTrailer

Author: Alan Williamson

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