Filth is Irvine Welsh’s third novel and an apt description of Jon Baird’s cinematic adaptation. It is also slang for the police.
Once there were boundaries. Now the field is wide open to the worst excesses of human depravity. Welsh broke the code with Trainspotting and has forgotten to take his medication ever since.
The language would set your granny on fire. The rumpy/kinky/pumpy would send Aunt Aggie into a coma.
The story of a bad cop imploding on drugs, booze and an addiction to giving his mates’ wives a good going over would destroy young Allan’s dream of true love and an honest day’s work being rewarded at the Rotary Club’s annual dinner.
Everything is corrupt. Women are gagging for it, but not from their husbands. Cocaine spills out of pockets like icing sugar and hideous hallucinations put nightmares in the shade. PC Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy, pictured) plans on ensuring promotion by inventing devious ploys to discredit his colleagues, most of which are beyond the pale. If he wasn’t a junkie he would be the torture tsar of some fiendish dictator.
His moral compass has been defunct for years and his sex drive shows no sign of flagging. Couple that with a penchant for cruelty and Filth is yours on a spike.
What saves it is humour. This one-way ticket to hell is (allegedly) a comedy and Baird emphasises the fact by creating a style that touches on the surreal, helped enormously by McAvoy’s performance which must be up there with Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal L as an evil funster on the look out for fresh meat.