Filth (and others from Irvine Welsh)
After some 15 years in production and repeated false starts, Jon S. Baird’s film adaptation of Filth, the third novel by Edinburgh-born writer Irvine Welsh, is finally hitting the big screen.
DVD & Blu-ray in-store now
James McAvoy stars as the story’s colourful protagonist: Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson is a copper very much of the bent variety, a man whose dubious moral code seems completely at odds with his behaviour – he has more enemies inside the police force than outside and is constantly striving to get the better of his colleagues. The film charts Robertson’s battle with his personal demons, his overindulgences in drugs and alcohol and, bizarrely, a talking tapeworm. The latter is one of the main features of the novel’s dark comedy and also one of the reasons that the book was previously described as ‘un-filmable’, but Baird’s canny direction and McAvoy’s stellar portrayal of the increasingly unhinged Robertson serve to make this one of the best adaptations of Welsh’s work.
Filth is now screening at cinemas up and down the UK, with a DVD release scheduled for early 2014. In the meantime, here are some other film adaptations of the work of Irvine Welsh
The release of Danny Boyle’s adaptation of Welsh’s debut in 1996 heralded a new era for British cinema with its gritty realism, hallucinogenic sequences and brutal sentimentality, launching the careers of Robert Carlyle and Ewan McGregor in the process. Trainspotting follows the exploits of Mark Renton and his friends Sickboy & Spud as they scam and scheme their way to their next heroin fix, all under the disapproving eye of Begbie, a non-user whose only apparent addiction is to violence.
Criticised at the time of its release by some sections of the media for ‘glamourising’ heroin addiction, Trainspotting has stood the test of time, its career-launching acting turns and lovingly selected soundtrack making it a modern classic.
"It's a filthy job getting to the top, but someone's got to do it."
The Acid House
Based on a collection of three short stories, Welsh himself wrote the screenplay for these three disparate and disturbing tales of modern life in Edinburgh. The Granton Star Cause tells the story of a Boab; thrown out of his house, sacked from his job and dropped from his football team, he meets God in a bar, turning him into a fly for wasting his life before he then begins to exact his revenge. A Soft Touch stars Kevin McKidd as a downtrodden husband who allows others to take advantage of him, while the title feature sees a return for Ewan Bremner starring as Coco Bryce, a hard-drinking Hibs fan who undergoes an outer body experience and becomes Scotland’s booziest baby.
Rob Heydon’s adaptation of a short story from Ecstasy follows the travails of Lloyd Buist, a hard-clubbing drug smuggler who, after a near-death experience as the result of one of his smuggling operations, resolves to turn over a new leaf and quit the drugs game for good. Before he can do this however, he must repay his debt to Solo, a shady character whom Lloyd struggles to unbind himself from. Essentially a love story between Lloyd and Heather (played by Kristin Kreuk), Ecstasy captures the drug-fuelled club scene of the 90’s - complete with a pulsing soundtrack - and the paranoia of finding love under the influence.