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DVD review: James McAvoy is good being bad in repellent ‘Filth’

Jamie Bell (left) and James McAvoy play Edinburgh Police detectives investigating a murder in the drama "Filth." Courtesy Magnet Releasing

By Sean P. Means

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Aug 09 2014 01:01AM
Updated Aug 10, 2014 05:40PM

Grade • C

DVD •Like a good pitcher on a bad baseball team, actor James McAvoy has an impressive outing for a lost cause in the lurid, overheated police drama "Filth." He plays Det. Sgt. Bruce Robertson, the scourge of the Edinburgh police force, who’s aiming for a promotion he’s sure will impress his bombshell wife, Carole (Shauna Macdonald).

To that end, he’s willing to sabotage his colleagues, including younger cops Lennox (Jamie Bell) and Drummond (Imogen Poots), sleep with hookers and housewives, partake of many drugs and bend the rules investigating a high-profile murder case.

Writer-director Jon S. Baird adapts a novel by Irvine Welsh (who also wrote "Trainspotting"), loading up on chaotic visuals to depict Bruce’s mental breakdown toward a predictably nihilistic outcome. McAvoy (familiar to "X-Men" fans as the young Prof. Xavier) gives a full-throated performance that’s better than the material deserves.

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