ANDREW COLLINS:FILM OF THE DAY PREMIERE Filth★★★★ 10.40pm-12.35am Film4
Irvine Welsh is a prolific author whose seamy, invective-strewn novels have largely remained unfilmed and are even regarded as “unfilmable” – with the honourable exception of symbolic “Cool Britannia” smash Trainspotting. Filth, in which misanthropic, bipolar Edinburgh detective Bruce Robertson descends into a hell of drink, drugs and debasement, could have been a case in point. But writer/director Jon S Baird has successfully streamlined a near-Shakespearean comic tragedy out of the novel’s stream-of-semi-consciousness narrative. Through the counterintuitive casting of “good guy” James McAvoy in the central role and some new fantasy elements, the depravity, duplicity and, yes, downright filth may just about get a broad-minded audience onside. A top-flight supporting cast (including Jamie Bell, Jim Broadbent, Eddie Marsan and Imogen Poots) further raises the palatability of what remains a deeply unpleasant journey. It won’t be for everyone, as Baird pulls no punches with the rough sex, drug abuse, political incorrectness and human cruelty, but McAvoy gives a vanity-free performance that may well be the crowning glory of his career.
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