James McAvoy deserves at least an Oscar nomination for this role! There, I said it! Filth was released in limited theatres this week in the US. Honestly, I have no idea what this means, because I’ve actually seen this movie months ago, so I have no idea why it’s being released so late in the States, or why it has a “limited” release. The only thing that I can think of is so that it can be considered for the next Academy Awards, but I’m not really sure that it works that way, so my theory is probably pure filth (hehe, see what I did there?)
Anyblamethelatehourformycorniness, I’m really only posting this because X-Men: Days of Future Past is still fresh in my mind, and James McAvoy’s roles in the two movies couldn’t be any more different. Sometimes, when an actor has made us fall so in love with a specific character that they play, we tend to associate this character too deeply with the actor and wind up forgetting that the actor is more than capable of portraying a completely different role as well as they portrayed our favourite. I think that this is the situation in which I’ve found myself with James McAvoy. Although I’ve seen him in a variety of movies, whenever his name comes up, the first things that I envision are his roles in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe and the X-Men franchise. In both instances, I absolutely LOVED the character that he played, in one case because he was so sweet and innocent, and the other because he was so brilliant and powerful. Well, as effectively as he delivered those roles, he delivered a completely different one in Filth.
In this movie, James McAvoy plays Detective Sgt Bruce Robertson, a highly corrupt law enforcement agent who schemes, cheats and manipulates his way through a murder investigation in an attempt to secure a competition-laden promotion. Though he is obviously a wickedly cunning man, and his acts of deception are clever and funny, he seems to lack the most basic level of scrupules, and it is incredibly hard to see him as the story’s hero. The only redeeming aspect of his life which allows us to feel any sort of empathy towards him is the fact that he seems to be haunted by trauma(s) from his past and they’re manifesting themselves in the most frightening ways in his mind.
When Michael Fassbender – who happens to co-star in the X-Men films with James McAvoy – wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Shame, everyone thought that it was the biggest snub that year. This is exactly how I’ll feel if James McAvoy is passed over as well (of course, I’m operating under the misguided assumption that Filth is even in the running for the next Oscars.) You know what’s funny? I just realised the similarities in Fassbender and McAvoy’s Oscar-worthy roles. They both take part in negatively-connoted mono-titled movies, in which the story’s antihero is a sexually insatiable monster living his life with a crippling mental disorder, without a single person around them being any the wiser. Ugh, maybe the Hollywood Foreign Press really is going to overlook this performance also. Michael Fassbender delivered an intense performance in his film, going as far as a full-frontal nude scene, and a hook-up at a gay bar.
While James McAvoy’s exploits in Filth aren’t quite as daring, they’re no less salacious. Filth is riddled with drug use, swearing, nudity and no shortage of sex scenes. It’s based on the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh which, surprisingly enough, I’ve never read.
If your sense of ethics can take a beating and you’re able to catch Filth in one of its limited showings, I suggest that you do, if for no other reason than to see how amazingly James McAvoy plays awful.