While most of the world now knows him as Professor X from the X-Men franchise, James McAvoy has delivered all sorts of different performances throughout his career. His latest film, Filth teams him up with Trainspotting creator Jon S. Baird alongside a great cast including Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots, Jim Boradbent, and Eddie Marsan, but does it have the meat to live up to its title and bring something new to the table or will it be too filthy to even bother with?
Filth follows a bigoted and corrupt policeman, who is in line for a promotion and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Enlisted to solve a brutal murder and threatened by the aspirations of his colleagues, he sets about ensuring their ruin, right under the nose of unwitting Chief Inspector. As he turns his colleagues against one another by stealing their wives and exposing their secrets, he starts to lose himself in a web of deceit that he can no longer control. His past is slowly catching up with him, and a missing wife, a crippling drug habit and suspicious colleagues start to take their toll on his sanity. This is one of those films that is pretty far out there in just about every way. The story is simple enough, but there is such chaos happening throughout it is sometimes hard to figure out what is happening. While this is an issue in some films, it is kind of what makes this film actually work. McAvoy is perfect in this role, delivering one of his best performances to date. With this role you never know where he is heading or when he might snap as it happens without notice numerous times. There are some aspects that are almost spiritual thanks to his hallucinations from drug use taking the viewer inside his torment. The rest of the cast do a great job as well bringing some normalcy to the film, but still keeping things from ever falling into the norm. This is one of those films that is kind of hard to review as it is all over the place and filled with both brilliance and disgust to create something so unique that it boils down to individual taste more than anything.
Every so often a movie comes along that will likely split people down the middle with little to no grey area and Filth is one of them. The movie is filled with great performances and unconventional depravity making for a great entertaining movie unlike much out there. Be warned this film sports some fairly graphic sexual moments from time to time that isn’t much you probably haven’t seen before, but with the added insanity could rub you the wrong way. Either way, give the film a try and make up your own mind as it is one that will likely need more than one viewing to really decide.