Filth, from Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, has taken a lot longer to come to the screen and I had high hopes for it since Trainspotting is an incredible movie from start to finish. Oh, by the way, I’m one of those people who never read books – I wait for the film version to come out. That’s just me.
Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is going for promotion to Detective Inspector but there are several colleagues standing in his way, including relative newcomer Ray Lennox (Jamie Bell) and the sole female in the running, Amanda Drummond (Imogen Poots). He’s constantly playing one-upmanship with them and, as a policeman, he’s more corrupt than you’d imagine, especially in ways early on that I don’t want to describe in print.
Slightly more palatable, would you believe is that he’s addicted to drugs, prostitutes, spirits and is clearly someone with many personal demons to conquer, but he gets through some of them by indulging in auto-erotic asphyxiation or, as he calls it, “turning off the gas”.
Cast-wise, James McAvoy is a great actor and performs very well here. Eddie Marsan is one of England’s best actors who, at 45, is still to become a household name, but you’ll know him in scores of different productions. Here, he plays Bruce’s best friend Bladesey, but with friends like Bruce, who needs enemies? Imogen Poots proves that every film needs a performance from Imogen Poots because she’s stunning and there’s great support also from Joanne Froggatt, John Sessions, Martin Compston, Bobby Rainsbury and I would also add Jim Broadbent, but his scenes were amongst those where the film started to fall down. Not his fault, but I’ve seen him in better things.
And there’s also David Soul popping up, singing Silver Lady. Why? God knows. Again, maybe this made more sense in the book.
So, after 15 years, is Filth worth the wait? Not particularly. I loved Trainspotting, but as a film, Filth displays lots of ideas which don’t get fully explored and, maybe it’s because I don’t read books, but there are aspects which aren’t at all self-explanatory or get rushed through in its brief 97-minute running time. That said, 97 minutes is more than enough as the last third does get a bit too bizarre for its own good and there’s a weird twist that just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high defintion. As you’d expect, the print is pin-sharp, highly-detailed and perfectly gets across the intentional grim look of Edinburgh and Bruce Robertson’s mental and moral decline.
The audio is in DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio, but Filth is generally a dialogue-driven piece with occasional background music, and it’s fine in both those departments, but it’s not a special effects piece.
The extras on this disc are all in HD and are as follows:
- Interviews with James McAvoy (9:53), director Jon S. Baird (9:55) and Irvine Welsh (21:04), the first two being set against a background of the movie poster – by contrast, Welsh seems to be sat in a gold-coloured cinema! – while talking to a female interviewer off-screen. McAvoy talks about how he got the part and gives an insight into his character; Baird discusses the challenge of putting Bruce Robertson onscreen because he’s such a complex character; and Welsh talks about turning the book into a film and how it was the one he most wanted to see on the big screen, as well as the fact that his cameo was cut out in the edit suite.
Oddly, whoever was in charge of the chaptering with these interviews clearly should’ve been in charge of chaptering the film, as that only has 12, whereas McAvoy’s interview has 14 chapters, Baird’s has 6 and Welsh’s has 14.
- Deleted Scenes (8:26): Four of them here. The first two give McAvoy another chance to excel and would go great in the film, but as Welsh hinted in his interview, you could make the film longer by adding scenes back in but by the time you’d finish, it would be two hours long and there are parts that would start to sag a bit. Yes, I think the film needs tightening up anyway, but you get his point. There’s also Welsh’s cameo here, too, as a newspaper reporter.
Like the extended scenes and outtakes, these are presented in 16:9, as the film was clearly shot that way but with 2.35:1 intended as the theatrical ratio. One of the above also has a camera dolly track in shot which is obviously not meant to be seen in the finished film.
- Extended Scenes (15:50): Seven of them and they do exactly what they say on the tin.
- Outtakes (6:32): 14 scenes here where things don’t quite go to plan, including one from Irvine Welsh, as well.
- Audio commentary: with author Irvine Welsh and writer/director Jon S. Baird.
As you put the disc in, the menu appears with an animation of James McAvoy riding a pig on the left-hand side of the screen, while snippets from the film play on the right-hand side, and a piece of the backgroung music. There are subtitles in English, but when it comes to the chaptering, I feel one should come every five minutes on average. Lions Gate, like many other distributors, go for a low 12 however long the film. I would like them to increase this number.
The one thing missing from the extras is a trailer and I advise you to check out this superb PG-rated movie trailer below:
Running time: 97 minutes
Released: February 10th 2014
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Super 35)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Jon S Baird
Producers: Mark Amin, Christian Angermayer, Jon S Baird, Will Clarke, Stephen Mao, Ken Marshall, James McAvoy, Jens Meurer, Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler
Screenplay: Jon S Baird (based on the novel by Irvine Welsh)
Music: Clint Mansell
Bruce Robertson: James McAvoy
Ray Lennox: Jamie Bell
Bladesey: Eddie Marsan
Amanda Drummond: Imogen Poots
Mary: Joanne Froggatt
Dr. Rossi: Jim Broadbent
Bunty: Shirley Henderson
Ocky: Iain De Caestecker
Size Queen: Pollyanna McIntosh
Bob Toal: John Sessions
Peter Inglis: Emun Elliott
Gorman: Martin Compston
Chrissie: Kate Dickie
Carole Robertson: Shauna Macdonald
Punter: David Soul
Gus Bain: Gary Lewis
Stephanie Donaldson: Bobby Rainsbury
Diana: Tracy-Ann Oberman
Anna: Natasha O’Keeffe
Hector: Ron Donachie
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.