Filth (film)

Filth is a 2013 black comedy crime film written and directed by Jon S. Baird, based on Irvine Welsh's 1998 novel Filth. The film was released on 27 September 2013 in Scotland, 4 October 2013 elsewhere in the United Kingdom and in Ireland, and on 30 May 2014 in the United States.[5] It stars James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, and Jim Broadbent.

A police officer riding an oversized bottle of whisky.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJon S. Baird
Screenplay byJon S. Baird
Based onFilth
by Irvine Welsh
Produced by
CinematographyMatthew Jensen
Edited byMark Eckersley
Music byClint Mansell
Distributed by
Release date
  • 16 September 2013 (2013-09-16) (Old Town Taito International
    Comedy Film Festival)
  • 27 September 2013 (2013-09-27) (Scotland)
Running time
97 minutes[3]
Box office$9.1 million[4]


Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson is a scheming, manipulative, misanthropic bully who spends his free time indulging in drugs, alcohol, abusive sexual relationships, and "the games" — his euphemism for the vindictive plots he hatches to cause trouble for people he dislikes, including many of his colleagues in the Edinburgh police force. Bruce also delights in bullying and taking advantage of his mild-mannered friend Clifford Blades, a member of Bruce's masonic lodge, whose wife, Bunty, is the target of his repeated obscene phone calls. The only people Bruce shows any genuine warmth to are Mary and her young son, the widowed wife and child of a man whom Bruce tries and fails to resuscitate after he suffers a heart attack in the street.

As the story begins, Bruce's main goal is to gain a promotion to become Detective Inspector, the path to which appears to open when he is assigned to oversee the investigation into the murder of a Japanese exchange student. However, Bruce slowly loses his grip on reality as he works the case and has a series of increasingly vivid hallucinations. It is ultimately revealed through dream-like exchanges with Dr. Rossi, his psychiatrist, that he is on medication for bipolar disorder and has repressed immense feelings of guilt over a childhood accident that led to the death of his younger brother. It also becomes clear that his wife Carole has left him and is denying him access to his daughter Stacey. These domestic issues sparked his desperate bid for promotion, played a part in his unusual displays of kindness toward Mary and her son, and have also led him to start cross-dressing as his wife when off duty in order to "keep her close" to him.

While wandering the streets on such an occasion, Bruce is kidnapped by a street gang led by the thuggish Gorman — who are responsible for the murder — and badly beaten. However, he manages to kill Gorman by throwing him through a window and is found by his colleagues. Bruce not only misses out on the promotion as a result of the events, but is in fact demoted to Constable and is reassigned to uniform, while rookie Ray Lennox is promoted to Detective Inspector. Afterwards, Blades receives a tape of Bruce apologising. Bruce then prepares to commit suicide by hanging himself, but is interrupted at the last moment by Mary and her son knocking at his front door. He then breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience repeating his catchphrase — "same rules apply" — and laughs as the chair slips from under him.



Welsh's novel was published in 1998, but over the following years the project was passed between producers and acquired a reputation of being "un-filmable".[6]


Track listing[7]Edit

1."Robbo's Theme"Clint Mansell1:14
2."Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow"The Shirelles0:17
3."Love Really Hurts Without You"Billy Ocean2:42
4."Silver Lady"David Soul3:00
5."It's All Over Me"Otis Blackwell3:43
6."Born To Be Wild"Wilson Pickett2:44
7."Supermarket Emptiness"Clint Mansell0:37
8."Creep"Clint Mansell & Coco Sumner2:07
9."Dr Love"Tom Jones4:12
10."Mercy"The Third Degree1:51
11."Backdoor Santa"Clarence Carter3:20
Total length:25:47

Other notable pieces include[8]


Box officeEdit

The film earned £250,000 in the box office revenue during its opening weekend in Scotland, reaching number one in the charts.[9] It grossed £842,167 ($1.4m) in the following weekend, when it went on general release throughout the United Kingdom.[10] The film ultimately ended up grossing $9.1 million worldwide.[4]

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 66% based on 97 reviews and an average rating of 6.23/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Warped, grimy and enthusiastically unpleasant, Filth lives up to its title splendidly."[11] The film also has a score of 56 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 24 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Filth-BFI".
  2. ^ a b "Drecksau". Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  3. ^ "FILTH (18)". Lions Gate Entertainment. British Board of Film Classification. 15 July 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Filth (2013)". The Numbers. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  5. ^[better source needed]
  6. ^ Ford, Matt (11 September 2013). "Irvine Welsh: The 'unfilmable' Filth finally makes it to the big screen". The Independent. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Filth Soundtrack (2013)". Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  8. ^ All 170 songs from the Filth (2013) Soundtrack, retrieved 29 May 2021
  9. ^ "Filth tops Scottish box office". The Scotsman. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  10. ^ Sandwell, Ian (7 October 2013). "Prisoners locks in UK box office lead". Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  11. ^ Filth at Rotten Tomatoes
  12. ^ Filth at Metacritic

External linksEdit