James McAvoy revels in the Filth of this Irvine Welsh adaptation.
FILTH (Jon S. Baird). 98 minutes. Opens Friday (May 30). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NNN
Following in the footsteps of Harvey Keitel and Nicolas Cage, James McAvoy shines (or perhaps rots) as an exceptionally bad lieutenant in Filth.
With glazed, wild eyes and a sinister grin, McAvoy holds little back, daring us not to look away while he plays the coked out, depraved and deranged Scottish detective Bruce Robertson. He's the magnetic centre in this latest adaptation of an Irvine Welsh novel, which arrives almost two decades after Trainspotting.
If this film feels dated, its because director Jon S. Baird adheres to Danny Boyle's style, with all the visual flourishes and accelerated editing that seem mandatory when translating Welsh's prose.
Boyle had an easier time finding redeeming qualities in Trainspotting's junkies. Baird has to strain to find the humanity in a detective who puts off solving a murder as long as possible so he can get wasted, fuck over his colleagues while angling for a promotion and get off on married women (and even a 14-year-old girl), all while his own wife and child remain mysteriously absent.
If not morally nauseating, the sick hijinks can be periodically hysterical, but also numbing, like the movie is beating on a dick that's already cum five times.