James McAvoy gives a searing performance as Bruce an abusive, misanthropic Scottish police sergeant investigating a death. He is addicted to drugs, alcohol, and rough sex and haunted by the memory of a child whose life he couldn’t save. Bruce takes his anger out on the world around him. Not 10 minutes in, and he is molesting a 16 year-old girl. He plays mean-spirited practical jokes on colleagues and threatens and cajoles witnesses. Moments of jarring comedy and an ill-timed song-and-dance number make you question exactly what Filth is aiming to achieve. A plot twist fans of Fight Club might appreciate ushers in a powerful and compelling third act, but the filmmakers can’t resist one final, ill-advised joke in the form of an animated sequence before the credits roll. This is a dark film with cynicism at its heart. Rated R. 97 minutes. Jean Cocteau Cinema, Santa Fe.
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