Filth

Critics Consensus

Warped, grimy, and enthusiastically unpleasant, Filth lives up to its title splendidly.

65%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 95

67%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 15,833
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Movie Info

Scheming Bruce Robertson, a bigoted and corrupt policeman, is in line for a promotion and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Enlisted to solve a brutal murder and threatened by the aspirations of his colleagues, including Ray Lennox, Bruce sets about ensuring their ruin, right under the nose of unwitting Chief Inspector Toal. As he turns his colleagues against one another by stealing their wives and exposing their secrets, Bruce starts to lose himself in a web of deceit that he can no longer control. His past is slowly catching up with him, and a missing wife, a crippling drug habit and suspicious colleagues start to take their toll on his sanity. The question is: can he keep his grip on reality long enough to disentangle himself from the filth?

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News & Interviews for Filth

Critic Reviews for Filth

All Critics (95) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (62) | Rotten (33)

  • "Filth" lives up to its title and then some, but a no-holds performance by James McAvoy is reason enough to watch.

    Jun 5, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Credit the filmmakers with descending persuasively into the swampy squalor of a diseased mind. If you're in the mood to go there with them, Filth offers an indecently bracing wallow.

    May 30, 2014 | Full Review…

    Bob Mondello

    NPR
    Top Critic
  • I'm not sure I can recommend the movie, but this actor and this performance are something to behold.

    May 30, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Viewers hungry for a catch-all dose of Welshian sardonicism would be better served checking out Trainspotting. Better soundtrack, for one.

    May 30, 2014 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • "Filth" demonstrates that contemporary filmmakers would do well to fine new ways of getting their hands dirty.

    May 30, 2014 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • Unlike Jude Law's similarly offensive title character in Dom Hemingway, McAvoy is given a far better story to work from.

    May 29, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Filth

  • Mar 28, 2016
    Take a visit to scenic Scotland where a chance at promotion at the local police department leads to one character's descent, leap, into frenzied psychosis as he deliberately sabotages his colleagues. All of the personalities are somehow twisted here but James McAvoy lends his all towards Jim Carrey-like over-the-top twist and thus a performance hard to not watch. Like a visit to a public toilet you will need to struggle to leave without getting much of the aptly named filth on you.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 30, 2014
    Rarely does a film try as hard to makes its lead character as revolting and despicable as Filth does, and unfortunately it succeeds spectacularly. James McAvoy stars as a sex obsessed, drug addicted, Scottish police detective who attempts to get a promotion by sabotaging and humiliating his competition. McAvoy really commits to the performance and makes the character an irredeemable, degenerate piece of human garbage. And therein lies the rub, as it's no fun to watch him destroy his life and the lives of others. Also, the script is poorly written and hard to follow. Extremely vulgar and mean spirited, Filth lives up to its name.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 11, 2014
    Filth somewhat feels like the cop version of the 1993 film, Naked. The film follows dirty cop James McAvoy who's trying to get a promotion in his company, during this period he's "solving" a murder & a prank call case all while trying to get laid and sabotaging his co-workers. There's an early scene where he's evaluating all the coworkers and their chances at getting the promotion, his group involved an inexperienced rookie, a dimwit, a metro sexual, a junkie, a man whore, ect. This is one of the early moments where you can see the common theme of repression. James McAvoy does a great job as detective Bruce Robertson, and shows how all these aspects apply to him. This theme later comes back about his wife, which I found rather under whelming. I predicted this twist before we even knew who McAvoy was, perhaps my familiarity with this sort of reveal through Polanski's film The Tenant gave it away. The film is a comedy, and it has great dark and filthy humor. The c*ck comparison scene had my dying. While the humor is black the background story is even darker. While Bruce's trips look like something from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, they do reveal some dark truths about him. Led by McAvoy's tremendous acting this is a worth while film, compared to the other Welsh adaptions I've seen I'd rank it under Acid House but above Trainspotting. Dark, funny, and surreal.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 16, 2014
    To say that this film lives up to its title might be the understatement of the year. It is twisted, amoral, and damn proud about it. But, in spite of all the unpleasantness this film brings about, this is also a surprisingly compelling character study about a man who's doing everything he can to keep his family together, no matter whatever that may be. Turning his colleagues against each other in order to make his path to the promotion that much easier. In many ways, much like the last film I just reviewed, Reign Over Me, this is a story about a man's grief and what that grief forces him to become. Someone completely different, in every way, than the person he used to be. Someone who's depraved, whose behavior knows no boundaries of poor taste, corruption, bigotry, manipulation, abuse, etc, etc. Basically, Bruce is every negative that you can possibly conjure up in your mind. It's obvious, during certain scenes, that there's a hint of the man he used to be. A good man, as he explains to Amanda in one scene. This is a man who's going through a terrible bout of grief, drug dependency, bipolar behavior, and depression. He's clearly going through some stuff that has left him unable to function the way he would've prior to the film's events. It's very easy to guess that his wife had left him for X or Y reason, a reason that's never really explained, not that it was needed for the film to work. And he's also going through the guilt of believing that he caused his brother's death when he was much younger. The combination of his wife leaving him, and refusing to let him see his daughter, added to the guilt he's had to deal with, has clearly pushed him over the edge, never to return again. His life, both professional and personal, starts to unravel as the film progresses. The lies and the manipulation eventually catch up to him and he's powerless to stop it, no matter how much medication he takes. It's quite something to see really. Bruce's lack of trust in others, even himself, is illustrated by the hallucinations he has. He pictures other characters as pigs (himself), sheep, wolves, witches, etc. These hallucinations get considerably worse as the film gets near its climax, as Bruce starts to lose grip with reality and who he is as a person. For all the efforts he made into getting the promotion, it was really doubtful that getting said promotion was gonna get his wife and daughter to come back to him. Particularly after all the damage he's done to himself after they left. It's kinda fucked, because if you leave him, and he's a good man, can you really hold it against him when his life completely unravels as a consequence of what you did? It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course, not that you ever get to find out if Bruce even did something to make his wife leave him. All we are told, from Bruce himself, or his psyche rather, is that she met another man and left him. Since Bruce isn't exactly the most reliable narrator, you're not exactly sure whether you should believe him or not. I have a hard time believing she'd just leave him if he truly was a good man. I guess we'll never know. Of course, this story wouldn't work if you didn't have this incredible performance from James McAvoy. Let me just say that I find the guy immensely talented, he was my favorite part of the last X-Men film, but he usually plays these good guy roles where's supposed to be charming, which he pulls off well, but he hasn't had a chance, at least as far as I've seen, to do this kind of absolutely detestable role before. And, you know what, the guy hits a grand slam. It's clear that he was relishing this role, it's a very meaty role, it's all over the place. I'm sure it must've been challenging to get the right tone for the character, but James conquers that challenge. I can't even begin to say how great he is in this film. He definitely won't get an Oscar nod, but he should get a BAFTA. I think he does JUST enough to give the character a little humanity, and even kindness sometimes towards Colin's wife and her son. Of course, it doesn't last long before the hallucinations kick in and he's back to the same old Bruce. But he does enough to show you that there's still a good man deep down inside him. I don't wanna say it justifies his actions, but it makes it easier to see that something, or someone, made him this way. Something in his life has made him this way, it's not like he was born this way. With that said, my review makes this film look bleak as fuck, and in a way it is given its ending, but I also found the film to be wickedly and darkly funny. There's some stuff that's gonna offend some people. What can you expect with a name like Filth? But it's so shamelessly proud of it, that you can't help but laugh along when Bruce does something fucked up like trying to get a blowjob from an underage girl. Again, they're not trying to justify his actions, they're trying to shine a spotlight on how wrong his behavior is and how few fucks he actually gives about his deplorable actions. So, at the very least, you'll get some laughs out of the film while watching this man's life go down the drain. The supporting cast is quite good, Eddie Marsan is easily the best one of the bunch. But that's not to say the others lack in motivation and effort, just that Eddie steals the couple of scenes he's in. Fuck it, I've upgraded the film to 4 stars, gave it 3.5 originally. Perhaps I'm being generous. If I feel I was, I'll come back and fix it. But, for now, this is a great, and incredibly dark, character study about an incredibly unlikable man. James McAvoy gives one of, if not, his best performances yet. If anything else, just watch it for how great the guy truly is in this film.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer

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