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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Movie Review - Filth

Filth (2014)
Starring James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Imogen Poots, and Jim Broadbent
Directed by Jon S. Baird
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

I don't really know what to make of Filth.  There's a part of me that is intrigued by director and screenwriter Jon S. Baird's unique dirty comic book/Monty Python/Tarantino-Luhrmann-esque comedic mashup. (Note:  Filth is weirdly none of those things I just mentioned and all of those things I just mentioned and more at the same time -- an odd mix.)  And then there's another part of me that found myself completely distanced from the proceedings that I didn't care at all what I was watching.

James McAvoy is Bruce, a British cop in line for a major promotion.  Outwardly pleasant to all his coworkers, Bruce's goal is to ruin their chances of upward mobility, therein securing himself the position.  More than just an underhanded manipulator, Bruce is an amoral deviant and a horribly unethical cop, taking drugs from his arrestees, attempting to sleep with underage prostitutes in a blackmail attempts to keep them from jail time, and many other less than kosher schemes.  To build a movie around a guy like this and try to get the audience to relate is a difficult task...and not entirely successful here.

While McAvoy does well with the seedier aspects of his character, the actor is also burdened with less-than-fruitful attempts to connect the audience with an emotional past that partly shaped Bruce into the nasty guy he has become.  This aspect of the plot seems tacked on -- why can't the character just be a giant a-hole?  Why does he need to be saddled with some heartbreaking back story?  Once again, this isn't McAvoy's fault, but he certainly isn't helped by this subplot.  Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, and Imogen Poots are quite good in their smaller roles as well, but this is McAvoy's character's story for sure.

In the end, I appreciated the attempt behind Filth with its larger than life comedic stylists, but it doesn't quite work and should've dropped the attempts at emotional heartstring-tugging.

The RyMickey Rating:  C

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