Let me start by saying I’m Scottish, technically I was born just over the border but I lived the first 19 years of my life there and I’m proud to call myself Scottish. That being said being Scottish in Germany is tough, especially when you got to the sneak peek movie club! So far we have had 3 “Scottish” movies there, all brilliant movies in their own right but it leads me believe that Scotland is possibly one of the most stereotyped countries in movie land.
The first movie we had was called The Angels Share, a fantastic movie about a group of Glasgow Scum on community service who have their lives turned round by someone who introduces them to whisky appreciation. It’s quite an uplifting movie all being told but it is still about Glasgow scum and whiskey and was actually subtitled in German (oh the shame)
The second was of course Brave, it can be forgiven for being stereotypical as it is after all a Disney movie but it does still give the impression we are all red-haired, tartan wearing and somewhat magical (I wish).
The Third which is the review I am coming to right now was Irvine Welsh’s Filth.
I have to admit I haven’t read the book (I know, I know take away my Scottish license right now) but I am familiar with his work and enjoyed reading and watching Trainspotting. The movie came out just as I went to uni and it somewhat defined our generation, we all had the “choose life” posters and listened to the awesome soundtrack on repeat. What I am trying to say is that I went in knowing what to expect I knew the story and I guessed it was going to be pretty bleak but I am not sure the unsuspecting audience knew what they had let themselves in for. We are not all drug addled alkies I promise!
James McAvoy is not known for shying away from a gritty role and I think he handled this with perfection, he is immensely dislike-able yet you still feel sorry for him, he is a man unraveling before our eyes and he plays it beautifully and honestly. He is sad, vicious, confused, out of control and so slimy that he makes your skin crawl. The supporting cast does a good job also and Eddie Marsan is always compelling to watch, it was also really nice to see Shirley Henderson finally getting her teeth into a decent role. Having now seen the movie I am not sure it is one of those movies that will do the book justice as there seemed to be a rich pool of turmoil and content that was merely skimmed over but it certainly had a bloody good go.
It was refreshing for me to hear the accents and they way people talk, it is things like this that make me homesick for Scotland and realize how much I have changed since I left, the turn of phrase makes me feel at home and makes me wonder how much a non native English speaker would get from it as this time it wusnee (wasn’t sorry I couldn’t resist) subtitled.
The movie itself lives up to its title, it is absolute filth but the one thing Welsh does well is portraying the realities of drug and alcohol abuse, it is never glorified and quite frankly you are downright horrified by the lead characters actions. There are some beautifully light points scattered throughout the movie like the trip to Hamburg before it takes a nasty turn, the Christmas party scene with the photocopier and the wonderful Jim Broadbent as Dr Rossi. If you liked Trainspotting you will like this perhaps not as much but it delivers the same repulsive slap around the face that makes you feel thankful for all that you have and all that you are. It handles some serious themes with a dark comedy that doesn’t take itself to seriously so it will leave you thinking but un-traumatized. I do feel like I need to see it again at some point.
A filthy 7/10