Rated: R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use, language and some violence Reviewed by: Jim Release date: May 30, 2014 Released by: Magnolia Pictures
When James McAvoy isn't delighting audiences in Marvel Comics adaptations he sometimes makes bizarre, if full-on turns like Trance and, now, Filth.
Also starring Jamie Bell (so good in the current AMC Revolutionary War series Turn), Imogen Poots, Eddie Marsan, Shirley Henderson, and Jim Broadbert, Jon S. Baird's ebullient, raucous translation of a Irvine Welsh cult novel instills a certain sleazy cinematic complicity cutting through office politics.
McAvoy's loose, drug-fueled, crooked Edinburgh lawman Bruce Robertson is the lead character and insouciant narrator out to become Sen. Det. Sgt to ingratiate a clueless, stentorian boss (John Sessions).
To further this opportunity as Baird relates a taut, if manic vision not for many discerning tastes, a breakneck pace through self-destruction, Bruce will put his co-workers through his harsh, if hedonistic outlook.
Emun Elliot's Peter will be victimized beyond his metrosexual appearance, Amanda (Poots) will be frowned upon; Bell's naif in Ray who looks up to Bruce will be more than introduced to cocaine; Bruce will be indiscreet and intimate with the wife (Kate Dickie) of Gus (Gary Lewis) and easygoing Bladesey (a funny Marsan) gets a wild Hamburg vacation.
You can tell McAvoy relishes putting smut on his strait-laced image and knows that viewers will be repelled by Bruce's off-the-wall behavior like obscene phone calls to Bladesey's wife (a good Henderson). But, it's hard not to be caught up in a slickly mounted foreboding dramedy with garishly, spry production values as reflected in Matthew Jensen's spacey lensing or unnerved as plenty of animal guises pop up. Even Broadbent (impressive in Le Week-End) registers in Bruce's consciousness as an unstable therapist to help complement the effective backup performers.
From the misogyny, homophobia and racism the tension is gratuitously skewered with confidence from a sharply witty if schematic storyline anchored by McAvoy. You might need a thorough cleansing if you sympathize with the heinousness that unabashedly wrinkles and wreaks with frenetically glorious filth.