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Movie review: McAvoy gives his all to lurid cop drama ‘Filth’
First Published Jun 05 2014 03:22 pm • Last Updated Jun 09 2014 11:17 am

James McAvoy gives a hellacious performance in "Filth," and it’s a shame that this lurid, frenetic movie isn’t deserving of it.

McAvoy plays Det. Sgt. Bruce Robertson, the toughest cop in the Edinburgh police force, and also one of the most morally messed up. He’s gunning for a promotion, which will impress his gorgeous wife, Carole (Shauna Macdonald), and he’ll screw over his colleagues — the rookie Lennox (Jamie Bell), "metrosexual" Inglis (Emun Elliot) and token female Drummond (Imogen Poots) among them — to get it.

At a glance



Opens Friday, June 6, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use, language and some violence; 98 minutes.

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He’ll also sleep with hookers and housewives, mess up the life of a rich lodge member (Eddie Marsan), consume excessive amounts of drugs and break procedure during a high-profile murder case. But when Bruce’s doctor (Jim Broadbent) shows up in his dreams, taunting him about the effect of his "cocaine and chips" diet, it’s a sign he’s losing his grip.

Writer-director Jon S. Baird tries every visual trick in depicting Bruce’s downward spiral, taken from a novel by Irvine Welsh ("Trainspotting"), but with such nihilistic chaos that it’s more depressing than entertaining.

McAvoy, currently starring in the new "X-Men" movie, commits himself completely to this despicable character, with an impressively full-throated performance worthy of a Kubrick movie.

movies@sltrib.com; www.sltrib.com/entertainment

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