Filth (2013)


For those familiar with my work (good god that sounds pretentious), you might recall last week when I posted a review of “Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.” I clamoured on and on in this article about how I loathe and detest the genre that is comedy… Yet, I conversely raved about how “Brits seem to have a direct line to my funny bone,” which eventually led to me building up the aforementioned Steve Coogan flick as the funniest of the year. Soon after this, I sat down and watched another of my most anticipated flicks of the year, Jon S. Baird’s “Filth,” which just so happens to be another hilarious film from the UK, originating from Scotland. Now, I know that there’s no love lost between the segregates of British people, but in all fairness, the English, Scots, Irish, and so on, are all part of one great nation and can all be deemed “British.” Therefore, my theory regarding comedy, the British, and my own, bizarre, dark comedic taste remains as truthful as ever.


Based on Irvine Welsh’s novel of the same title, which is one of my most cherished reads. “Filth” is every bit as vile as the dirty images and abhorrent actions the word conjures up in your brain. It’s repulsive, violent, vulgar, abusive, indulgent, sociopathic, misogynistic, sexually deplorable, and darkly hilarious. That being said, it doesn’t quite knock “Alpha Papa” from the throne of hilarity I’ve bestowed upon it, but “Filth” does exceed its brethren in nearly every other emotional and cinematic aspect. However, as you’ve probably assumed by now (I hope), this flick is really for those with a taste for the gritty and grotesque. So (I feel idiotic for even having to point this out), do not watch “Filth” if you are…delicate, you know, easily offended. Because if you happen to be the “morally stable” type, I can confidently guarantee that it won’t sit well with you and that you’ll be scrubbing “Filth” endlessly from your underbelly to no avail…


Now, if you’re like me and have a rather…unique taste in film, there’s hardly anything shocking in the goings on of this flick that you haven’t been previously exposed to. Don’t get me wrong though, “Filth” is plenty filthy. I’m simply stating that one, like myself, shouldn’t go into the film expecting to be knocked off their feet from disgust, depravity, and peril. I’ve seen the very worst, disturbing, unhinged things that cinema has to offer and the dirt here doesn’t exactly rival those that rely on inhumanity as a crutch. What I’m saying is that the filth is hardly the driving point of “Filth,” merely a contrast, a theme, a device to assist in nailing our humanity home. To phrase it better, I’ve never seen such selfish, stoic, savage behaviour used so effectively and tastefully. The honest moments of vulnerability, fear, and love in this film is what makes “Filth” so utterly disconcerting, not the extent of ones indifference to the well being of others or themselves.


Directed by the aforementioned Jon S. Baird, who also wrote the screenplay, “Filth” explores the depths and extremes of the human psyche. Constructed as a series of repugnant acts playing out through a man suffering from the destruction of his family while he fights for a promotion. Baird’s adaptation might not stay completely true to the source material, yet is able to conjure up a rather empathetic, aching, scummy story while keeping the darkness above all else. “Filth” really is an exploration of contrasts, take for example, it’s soundtrack. There’s a scene in which a group of people spontaneously jump into a merry, disheartening chorus staring into the camera dead on, sufficiently demolishing the fourth wall, just mere minutes before and after such foulness has graced the screen. I don’t know who’s responsible for such artistic structure, but they should be applauded. Baird really triumphs thoroughly with his latest outing.


Now, before I get into praising James McAvoy, I’d like to give a shout-out to “Filth’s” outstanding supporting cast comprised of Jim Broadbent, Imogen Poots, and Jamie Bell, amongst others. Broadbent definitely takes his bizarre, hallucinogenic role to the next level with a charismatic, descriptively insane performance. Whether he’s ripping out the innards of our unstable lead, causing uproarious laughs with his sporadic mannerisms, or forcing disheartening realizations, Broadbent really pushes the film to the next level. Poots continues to display why she’s one of the most talented up-and-comers. She’s striking, unrelenting, sexy, and immensely astounding. As for Bell, who should really get more chances to strut his stuff, what can I say, he once again proves he’s got the chops to hang with the best. McAvoy, oh James McAvoy…simply put, McAvoy is bloody brilliant, his mannerisms, laugh, voice, beard, everything. The way he looks at the camera and breaks the fourth wall is enough to give you chills and his emotional output is heart-wrenching. His performance alone makes “Filth” worth the watch.


Featuring one of the performances of the year from James McAvoy, evoking countless reactions and tugging at the viewers heart strings. “Filth” is a rare cinematic achievement in which humanities lowest points cause the film to soar to dizzying heights.


Filth: 9 out of 10.

About Joseph@thecinemamonster

Aspiring writer who absolutely adores film and television.

Posted on December 19, 2013, in Comedy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. Outstanding sir!!! I loved Filth. As a big fan of Irvine Welsh I had very high hopes for this and it didn’t disappoint. I’ve often wondered how viewers outwith Scotland would view this but I’m very happy to hear it works just as well. Pure hilarious depravity.

    And need we say more about McAvoy? The man is stupendous here and deserves a f@#king award for this role. He’ll likely get overlooked but it’s still the best performance I’ve seen all year.

    • Thanks a bunch Mark!

      Also a huge fan of Welsh’s work, he’s got one of the most unique, unleashed minds, doesn’t he?

      As for McAvoy, there’s no chance he gets any love or awards for his performance here, but he damn well should!!

      • Welsh is one of the most raw and unflinching writers out there. I just love his bravery and sense of humour.

        As for McAvoy, he’s still got a lot of doubters but this performance alone should silence them all.

  2. Brilliant review, I hereby dub you an honorary brit! Haven’t seen Filth but I live in Edinburgh where it’s set!

  3. Wow. That’s a glowing review of a film I don’t I’ve ever heard of. I’ll be watching this one, too.

  4. Good stuff – I might watch this sometime when it’s around for free : )

  5. Does look good, i’ll have to catch it sooner or later 😀

  6. great review. I need to see this film, I loved Trainspotting (In my top ten) based on a book by Irvine Welsh, It’s set in Scotland (I’m a proud Scot 🙂 ) and it has that dark dark drama and comedic feel which I enjoy.

  7. That’s great you got the chance to catch up with this; both the film and McAvoy’s brilliant performance deserve much. Great stuff mate.

  8. Solid review my friend. I wouldn’t call myself “delicate”. I just have no attractive to the profane and vulgar which is why I probably will skip this one. Very solid cast but just not my cup of tea.

    • Thanks so much Keith!

      If the vulgarity has meaning, would it still not interest you? I know what you mean regarding profanity and such, especially without purpose, but if it has merit, would you consider it? Just curious :).

      • Very good question. I really don’t think so. I don’t need to see or here things I consider vulgar or profane to understand a character is vulgar or profane. Please don’t think I’m casting judgements. Not my intent at all my friend. I just really dislike those things and I always appreciate when a filmmaker can relay those characteristics without drowning me in them.

        Does that even make any sense? LOL

      • Yes, that makes perfect sense. Interesting take, Keith! I was just curious, cause this is an odd film and it’s hard to think of it without any dirt.

  9. Loved this one. Great review Joseph.

  10. Excellent review. I really enjoyed this.

  11. Great review, man! Really keen to watch this one.

  12. Great review. I must just actually get myself together to watch it, I am seriously on a McAvoy binge at the moment!

  13. This sounds great. Definitely checking it out. I love McAvoy, too but I am not too familiar with Welsh. Nor have I seen any of Baird’s films. So, I am intrigued. Thanks!

  14. McAvoy is genius, but so creepy! Going to check it out… at one point haha. Great write–up, still!

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