Door four of The Third Annual James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films is looking a little grimy. Indeed, when we open it, we are confronted with nothing short of Filth.
2013’s Filth is the aptly named black comedy starring James McAvoy as a sociopathic detective who seems hellbent on inflicting misery on his colleagues. And his friends. And pretty much everyone he meets.
Adapted from a novel by Irvine Welsh (the author who also brought the world Trainspotting) it’s unsurprisingly a dark and twisted tale in which nothing is quite what it seems.
It’s not one for the faint-hearted or easily offended but if you like this kind of thing (which I absolutely do) then it’s utterly compelling and McAvoy clearly relishes the opportunity to play against type. The humour is bleak, but it is, at times, laugh-out-loud funny. Nonetheless, the film hits hardest in when, amongst all the cynicism and cruelty there is a rare moment of tenderness.
Score for Christmasishness
Not exactly full of festive cheer, but there is no doubting the Christmasishness of this one. It is set entirely over the Christmas period, including the big day itself. Remove all things related to the season and the film could still work, but the Christmas setting does feel relevant and contributes to the effectiveness of the movie as a whole. It’s certainly Christmas(ish) enough for me.