Filth

 (821)7.11 h 37 min2014R
While working on a murder case, a scheming, manipulative policeman starts coming unhinged, slowly losing his grip on reality and suffering from a series of increasingly severe hallucinations as he desperately tries to hold his life together.
Directors
Jon S. Baird
Starring
James McAvoyImogen PootsJamie Bell
Genres
SuspenseComedyDramaArthouse
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Producers
Jon S. BairdStephen MaoKen MarshallTrudie StylerJens MeurerCeline Rattray
Studio
Magnolia
Rating
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Violencesexual contentdrug usefoul languagenudity
Purchase rights
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Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

821 global ratings

  1. 59% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 7% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 11% of reviews have 1 stars

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Top reviews from the United States

D. LarsonReviewed in the United States on January 3, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
The Bad Lieutenant Goes Trainspotting
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James McAvoy, more fun than Keitel, less fun than Cage. This remake of “Bad Lieutenant” adds some Scots accents and lowlifes, but it’s pretty much the same as the last one with Nic Cage. Who was, frankly, way more fun. McAvoy is grungy as all get-out, looks like he reeks, needs a shave and does a lot of snorting, pill-popping and carrying-on with loose women and erotic strangulation. But does he ever enjoy any of this?

A fixture of drug movies seems to be that nobody enjoys doing the drugs anyway. So why bother? If drinking yourself blind and snorting powder makes you just increasingly more miserable, maybe, I dunno, find religion or go skydiving? Anyway, James McAvoy has just an awful time to start with, and by the almost end, he’s hallucinating his head off. All Bad Lieutenants do that, though.

Keitel, nuns, religious imagery, Catholic guilt. Easy peasey. Cage, reptiles of various descriptions. Pretty funny, especially combined with Cage’s patented hamminess. McAvoy sees pig-monsters and witches, both seemingly from a Christmas pantomime, and they’re not a patch on Nic Cage’s iguanas. They don't even smoke.

A bunch of excellent British faces round out the melodrama, best of them being Jim Broadbent, who enlivens just about any picture he’s in. Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots, Eddie Marsan, John Sessions….you could make a good movie with these people and skip the McAvoy part entirely. Do a workplace black comedy.

As is, there’s an irrelevant murder, a lot of reasonably enjoyable squalid situations and some pleasant hijinx as McAvoy attempts to sabotage his co-workers’ chances of promotion. And all that breath play. All good fun. But then we, and McAvoy, have to do the downward spiral into mental breakdown. Nic Cage did it funnier. Harvey Keitel did it gut-wrenchingly and unpleasantly. McAvoy did it so we’re glancing at our watches and thinking “get on with it, then”. And then suddenly, a full-on Brian DePalma crossdressing bit that, I admit, does come out of nowhere. Cue the lowlifes! The beat-down! The defenestration!

Finally, our man Bruce hits rock bottom, and then there’s a dreadful fifteen minutes of redemption arc that completely abandon the black comedy tone set previously. The director did not know when to say “That’s a wrap, people!” Seriously, the last part belongs in some other movie, because at this point, we do not feel McAvoy’s pain from his childhood trauma, we just think, “We get it, creep, we get it.” Maybe suicide is the answer. A couple of people McAvoy has wronged get improbably righted in clichéd scenes. The auto-asphyxiation (is it still “auto” when you have your partner do it for you?) card is played again. A weird but nicely drawn animated cartoon (a “what th’?” moment tacked on if ever there was) and credits!

“Filth” is short, which is good, competently filmed if you like that slice of life grimy, gritty, slimy and gross sort of realism, the accents are not impenetrably thick. It’s just that this story has been told and this retelling doesn’t add much beyond recreational strangulation (wouldn’t it leave hard-to-explain marks?) and the Worst Psychiatrist in Scotland. If you’ve got an hour and a half to fill on the elliptical, it’s not boring, most of the time. And a trip to Hamburg’s less scenic side is always fun. And the sleaze, Moe, the sleaze! You can't have too much sleaze!
9 people found this helpful
David S. McQueenReviewed in the United States on December 31, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Scottish Version of "Bad Lieutenant"
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Set in Scotland, present day.

James McAvoy plays Bruce, a Scottish police detective who is up for promotion from Detective-Sergeant to Detective-Inspector. He and his fellow detectives are all vying for the promotion but Bruce has a plan.

The film depects Bruce's machinations regarding his rivals and also shows the dark side of him. There is a murder committed (a Japanese student is beaten to death) and Bruce is given the lead on the case. He actually does very little toward solving the mystery but instead continues to sabotage his fellow detectives' chances for the promotion.

This is a very good film about a man's decent into madness and reminds me of the American film "Bad Lieutenant" (1992) starring Harvey Keitel. This is not really a comedy but more of a sad commentary on addiction, madness and man's self-detructive tendencies. Well acted and directed, the film is well worth your time.
3 people found this helpful
RatboyReviewed in the United States on April 9, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
I hate movies, however..
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As a general rule I dislike movies. In fact I haven't watched one all the way through in years. I rent them on occasion but I find them boring, tedious... I lose interest rather quickly. With that said my current girlfriend recommended I watch this. With little enthusiasm I complied which is a rare thing for me. I settled in with a few cats lying about me on the sofa expecting to be done with yet another movie in 20 minutes. I sat, watching, riveted. For the entire length of the film. It gripped me. Wouldn't let go. The acting is spectacular. The script is amazing. I laughed, I watched in near horror... and then the end. Amazing. Immediately to the top of my very short "favorite films" list. I cannot recommend this enough. If someone who dislikes films as much as I do was as riveted and enthralled with one as I was with this.. well, it has to be good. This is excellent. Watch it. Enjoy... or whatever it is you feel while watching it... perhaps it isn't 'enjoyment' as such... but it is an experience. And that is what art is, at its best: an experience. Not always pleasure but always impact and emotion. This is both, in spades. Most excellent.
10 people found this helpful
tonyatawanaReviewed in the United States on July 11, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Enjoyed it more than Trainspotting
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Let me start by saying that I have seen Trainspotting and thought it was okay. I didn't love it but I didn't hate it. I think Filth is a much better movie. Another disclaimer, I have never read Irvine Welsh so I have no emotional investment in the books that either movie came from.

I watched this movie for one reason, James McAvoy. And, after having watched it, I'm glad I was drawn to it because of him-- it's brilliant. I never really understood the description of Trainspotting as a comedy (I mean, come on, a comedy about heroin addiction!) and after watching it, I thought it was bleak, desperate, and there was not much at all funny about it.

Filth, on the other hand, actually takes a bleak world and horrible circumstances and injects some truly funny moments. Is it a comedy in the true sense of the word? Maybe....depends on if you go with the standard definition (like Shakepeare's Much Ado About Nothing in which much tension and drama occur but ultimately there's one man shunned and a marriage occurs) or if you just define a comedy as a movie that's laugh after laugh at something stupid (take Dumb and Dumber for that example).

McAvoy is amazing and the rest of the cast is excellent as well. The Scottish accent was only an occasional problem but I was still happy to turn on the subtitles.

I don't want to spoil any of the film, but it was a movie that was so though provoking I watched it and when I woke up the next day, I had to rewatch it. I'm still not sure how to feel about he main character, but I really am enjoying the intellectual stimulation provided by the film.
40 people found this helpful
Robert HayesReviewed in the United States on May 26, 2014
4.0 out of 5 stars
James McAvoy dominates the screen in this incredible depiction of madness and excess
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Despite some inconsistent tone, FILTH is a darkly comic film about a despicable cop's descent into madness. The story follows Bruce Robertson, a Scottish cop who is up for a promotion, and in charge of a murder investigation. However, those two details are merely springboards for what the movie is really about, that is, his impossibly filthy lifestyle and how he pushes himself to his breaking point. As played by James McAvoy, he is largely unsympathetic although he does have a twisted sense of humor. Other than possibly feeling sorry for him (which is a stretch), the only thing audiences will have to connect with is the promise of being reunited with family, which is what he hopes to achieve with the promotion. However, in the end, even that proves illusory. There is a seriously dark undercurrent to this whole movie, but there is a lot of dark humor to soften what otherwise would be an oppressively dark portrait of a man on the edge. Even still, these are the kind of movies that I love. It's not perfect, due to some jarring attempts at sentimentality, but this is largely a bravura effort with an incredible performance by James McAvoy, and based on a book by the author of TRAINSPOTTING (which tackles similar thematic material). Despite not being for everybody, this is a well-made film that is captivating and deserves to be seen by anybody willing to give it a chance.
13 people found this helpful
Karl WeaverReviewed in the United States on December 8, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
Surprisingly Good
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Filth Logic Pictures 2013 Rated R DVD version

This film seems to have been made in Scotland and on a fairly small budget. The main character, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robinson, is played by James McAvoy. He’s a self-centered, manipulative wastrel who is assigned to a murder investigation but is much more invested in sabotaging any of his fellow officers who are also applying for a promotion to Deputy Investigator, a promotion he wants.

So when you know at the outset the “hero” is a rather disgusting character, you have to figure there’s only a few ways this can go. The story manages to make you admire something about him in spite of his flaws (the bigger the flaws, the more impressive the accomplishment if this succeeds). Or perhaps he undergoes some kind of major transformation and turns his life around? Or perhaps he remains basically a villain all the way through (in which case, usually the story is obliged to kill him off at the end).

I won’t ruin the plot by detailing which course this film takes. Before dwelling any further on plot I’ll throw in a few other observations. The accents were kept quite mild and I didn’t have trouble understanding dialog, except for a few Scottish slang terms that it really wasn’t necessary to understand to follow the story. Music was..uh…snappy? Setting a light-hearted background tone. Cinematography was good. The script is based on a full length novel. Partway through the film I was surprised to run into Joanne Froggatt, looking very much the same, and playing much the same personality as she does in Downton Abbey.

So as the story unfolds we gradually learn more about Bruce’s past and what has made him such a twisted f***. The story depicts sordid situations with an unremittingly semi-comedic tone. Without a great performance by the lead actor this movie wouldn’t have worked. James McAvoy gives a great performance. It's a quirkily good film and, for me, definitely better than average. [No actual nudity, no graphic violence, blood at times, foul language and plenty of reference to sexual and violent acts]
One person found this helpful
ZemiReviewed in the United States on July 1, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Pleasantly Deceptive
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This film spends the majority of its time as a shallow, unlikable carriage for a fragile ego. In the last 10-15 minutes, however, it suddenly and engagingly reveals that all of its moments from the most vile and callous to the tentatively hopeful were skillfully being woven into a glorious tapestry of a character study. Having watched only to see Eddie Marsan's role and not generally being a McAvoy fan, I was pleasantly surprised that those last few minutes of the movie transformed it from something I had merely sat through to a wonderful piece of entertainment that I'm more than happy to watch again. Slogging through the main character's life, his "filth", is absolutely necessary to achieve the emotional payoff of the film's ending. It is variously amusing and depressing, irritating and hopeful, and cruel and beautiful. If you like McAvoy, mentally engaging films, gratuitous sex, violence, and/or twists that you didn't see coming, then it's most assuredly worth watching.
Jeffrey T. KaneReviewed in the United States on November 15, 2014
3.0 out of 5 stars
Without those aspects you end up getting a tepid knock off of Bad Lieutenant. But to be fair I did think ...
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As an adaptation of the novel Filth this movie really fails. The talking tapeworm and the tragic backstory of the girl in the wheelchair were part of what made the novel so unique.

Without those aspects you end up getting a tepid knock off of Bad Lieutenant.

But to be fair I did think that James McAvoy and the supporting cast all did an excellent job with what they had to work with, McAvoy especially had an uphill battle against the asinine script and direction and he managed to pull off an amazing performance anyway, even bringing me to tears at one point.

Although Bunty was fat and ugly in the novel I did enjoy Shirley. Henderson's sexy portrayal of the character.

I wish James McAvoy could have starred in a proper adaptation of the novel because that could have been brilliant. The fact that I still enjoyed this movie and can't give it one stars is all due to his acting.

Please read the novel Filth to see what this film could have been if somebody had bothered to respect the source material.
One person found this helpful
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