The Game Called Go Insane – ★★★
Choose a job with the police. Choose a promotion. Choose screwing over your mates. Choose screwing everything that moves. Choose snorting cocaine from a nasal inhaler. Choose whiskey. Choose dirty phone calls. Choose turning off the gas. Choose bribery. Choose stitching up your friends. Choose lithium. Choose sitting bollock naked on your hall floor crying into nicotine stained fingers. Oh sorry wrong film but Filth, the most recent James McAvoy vehicle, is based upon the novel written by the Scottish wordsmith Irvine Welsh who penned Trainspotting back in 1993.
If you can cast your mind back to Trainspotting imagine if Begbie got a job working for the police and you pretty much have McAvoy’s character of Bruce Robertson. He’s an alcoholic, cocaine addicted, pill popping sexual deviant who is hell bent on destroying his work colleagues in an attempt to get that all important promotion. It smacks of Netflix series “House of Cards” which showed Kevin Spacey doing pretty much the same thing only without as much drugs and sex.
We soon realise that all is not right in wee Bruce’s noggin and he is just drifting further and further away from reality. Hallucinating animal heads on friends and with visions of a dead boy he tries desperately to cling to the loose strands of his consciousness. McAvoy is fantastic as he manages to make you feel somewhat sympathetic to the tribulations of Bruce the poster boy for the “all men are bastards” brigade.
It really is McAvoy’s film as his performance is so central and note-perfect that the rest of the cast play second fiddle. Jamie Bell puts in a great performance as his partner in crime although Jim Broadbent is in danger of sinking the ship as the Australian quack who acts as Bruce’s conscience. These scenes really don’t work and totally upset the flow of the film.
The faults lie in the story itself and while not having read the book I would imagine this is down to the transition from page to screen rather than the source text. Welsh must certainly be aware of the Irish novelist Pat McCabe’s work as it is very reminiscent of the unhinged characters you find populating McCabe’s novels. It is Welsh’s words that make the most hackneyed of cinema devices, the voice over, work as we hear without interruption the lyrical flow of his prose.
If Blue Jasmine was a measured subtle showing of a person’s decent into madness, Filth is a high octane, unrelenting, vomit-inducing rollercoaster.
Released across Ireland on October 5th 2013