Filth (d. Jon S. Baird UK 2013)

Filth (d. Jon S. Baird UK 2013)

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis at the bottom for any who wish to see one.


Entertainment: starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Performances: starfish starfish starfish

Predictability: starfish starfish starfish

Technical: starfish starfish starfish starfish


This is a very daring film. It comprises of large amounts of black humour and a rather risky central narrative. Filth is dependant upon the performances of its cast. Casting here is important. This film will therefore have its particular audience. James McAvoy tackles the lead. The film is supported by some interesting use of cinematography and particularly colour. Whilst being a very visually interesting film, it is also meaningful, but not distracting. There is a lot to take in for those who can see, but it isn’t essential to see. This is a film thats key success is completely within the concepts and performances within. Without James McAvoy, the film would struggle but the incidents that occur are essential to the humour – as dark as it may be.


Corruption, sexuality and language – all are important. This film strives to be offensive. The central character is a complete anti-hero that cheekily and selfishly pushes the limits on what one can get away with. His interests and actions dictate any extreme. Is it right to laugh at so uncaring abuse of the self and of all others? Black humour is certainly not for everyone. The title is important as it signs a promise to any spectators. In so doing, it picks a spectator that happily laughs through black humour – they expect to see filth. The situations are clever and well thought out. At times they are even surprising, but they are always selfish in feeding the interests of the central character.


The type of humour used here couldn’t work without the charms of James McAvoy. So hard it can be to keep an audience caring and interested within such an anti-hero. The black humour could easily deter certain audience members. Fortunately, with such a competent actor, James McAvoy delivers a stunning performance – confidently walking the fine line of love and hate. For all the reasons we have to hate the character who revels in the disgusting acts he carries out, we still love him. It’s truly a testament to the actor himself. However, the supporting cast, though not as essential as James McAvoy, are subpar. They can be rather one dimentional and their use shows more to the talents of James McAvoy. Though this assessment of the supporting cast is with notable exceptions.


This was a very daring film, a very filthy film and very funny, entertaining one. Certainly, not for everyone. It is, of course, essential to like James McAvoy. His performance is paramount. If the comedy strikes, as I would expect it to, this is a very enjoyable watch. Rich in the style and performance of its lead actor. Each situation dares to show the ‘unshowable’ in a glorious love of everything dirty. Anti-hero, the bar was just raised.


Further Reading

Official Site

James McAvoy Site

Irvine Welsh Site

Interview with Cast + Crew

Interview with James McAvoy

Interview with Irvine Welsh



In scotland, a corrupt detective does what he can to exploit his situation, abusing his friends and colleagues for his own gains. All the while he consumes himself in sex and masturbation.

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