Review: Filth (18)

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Everyone is above the law, not least the police, in Jon S Baird’s giddy and grim black comedy adapted from Irvine Welsh’s 1998 novel of the same name.

Infused with directorial brio and no-holds-barred performances from an excellent ensemble cast, Filth mixes a heady cocktail of sex, drugs and wanton violence then spikes the noxious brew with a generous dash of racism and homophobia.

Those of a nervous disposition will be fortunate to survive the opening five minutes unscathed, as Baird paints a wickedly funny portrait of Edinburgh’s police force as a boy’s club of degenerates and scoundrels.

Not since Danny Boyle’s breathless screen version of Trainspotting more than 15 years ago has a film realised Welsh’s distinctive voice with such flair.

Some of the book’s devices have been sacrificed to construct a narrative thread we can cling to through the madness and debauchery.

Glasgow’s golden boy James McAvoy takes the sheen off his nice-guy screen image as misanthropic schemer, DS Bruce Robertson, who lords it over his colleagues and shamelessly sucks up to his superior.