The meaning of the film “Filth”
Filth is one of the most grotesque, scandalous and provocative films of recent times, the authors of which seem to throw the audience into a big tub of dirt and wash them with sewage, in an attempt to show the real essence of human nature. The kaleidoscope of events through which the audience goes along with the main character of the film, played by James McAvoy, clearly shows how far a person can go into moral degradation and what tricks a person can go to in order to achieve their own success.
However, everything is not so simple and with inattentive viewing, the viewer can only discover a series of sadistic perversions and other provocative content that was used to attract the viewer to watching the film. The ending of the motion picture can leave you at all bewildered by its allegoricality and cruelty towards the audience and the protagonist of the plot. “Filth” is not only a grotesque black comedy, but also a moral parable, in the sense of which we will try to figure it out.
Worst Police Officer
Bruce Robertson is a sociopath, drug addict, alcoholic, pervert and just a man who gets drunk from his own mock ingenuity and impunity. According to the plot of the film, he is an ordinary police officer who is investigating the brutal murder of a Japanese student. Together with Robertson, the entire police department is entrusted with the student’s murder case, and the one who reaches the highest heights in the investigation will become a commissioner. “In war, all means are good” – this is Bruce’s model of behavior, so he sets up various tricks to discredit his colleagues: sleeping with a friend’s wife, accusing a work colleague of homosexuality, drugging a gullible friend – this is just a small part of that “filth” that is contained in Bruce.
The protagonist of the film specifically chose to work in the police, as in his words: “the cops press everyone,” and he decided to join them. For the moral monster, whom Bruce appears before the audience, absolute impunity and power in front of the people around him is an additional opportunity to “feed” Robertson’s ego.
Bruce’s philosophy is based on the words he said at the very beginning of the film: “The games have always been played and you have to be the best. The rules are the same everywhere. ” Games in the understanding of the protagonist are a series of social interactions through which a person achieves success. As for the rules, everything is simple here: whoever tries harder, builds more tricks, he takes the lead and gets his rightful prize. The prize for Robertson is not only a career advancement, but also the moral pleasure he receives from encouraging his social and sexual deviations.
In the course of the film, you can see the gradual moral and mental degradation of the protagonist, which ultimately drives him crazy. All according to the laws of the genre. But in a movie script, when the narrative thread of comedy is interrupted by dramatic moments, several central images emerge, which should be discussed separately.
Bruce suffers from bipolar disorder, which is expressed in spontaneously arising affective states: depressive and manic. In an attempt to curb his own aggression and put his brain in order, the detective visits psychotherapists – Doctor Rossi, who prescribes special drugs for him. You can see that in the first scene at the reception of Dr. Rossi, Bruce is extremely adequate and friendly, which indicates his intentions to recover and get out of the hole into which he constantly slides. Over time, Bruce stops taking pills, which leads to various hallucinations.
Already the next scene of the meeting with Dr. Rossi at Roberson takes place through hallucinations, immediately after he begins to refuse pills. The image of Rossi in the hallucinations of the protagonist is his subconscious personality and the need to speak out to at least someone. In the first subconscious meetings with Dr. Rossi, you can still see how the therapist echoes Bruce’s thoughts and supports his sociopathic inclinations: “You should not trust your friends, family, or especially yourself.”
The second subconscious visit to the therapist occurs when Bruce’s personality is already at the height of moral decay. The doctor is no longer trying to support Robertson, but symbolizes a sense of guilt and in a sarcastic manner says that Bruce’s actions are the reason why the detective will not see either the child, or his wife, or even a promotion in the police. The final meeting with the doctor is Roberston’s subconscious cry to himself. “You’re just shit” – the last words of Dr. Rossi, which is why if Bruce can blame anyone for his failures, then only himself.
Bruce’s wife is one of the main characters of the whole film and at the same time an attempt to return to a normal state of mind for Roberston. In the opening scene of the film, we hear the voice of his wife, who says that a promotion to the police is the only reason why Carol will be able to return to Bruce. The motive of returning to the family for the detective is used as an excuse for all the atrocities in the service in order to arrive at the much-desired promotion.
Almost all of his wife’s appearances (except for the last one in the store) are another hallucination of Bruce. He dressed himself in a dress, put on a woman’s wig and spoke on behalf of his own wife. According to him, “I just didn’t want to let her go,” but, as mentioned above, this is just an excuse that Bruce used to encourage his own moral degradation.
After another boorish and caustic attack on society (this time the homeless man was the object of ridicule for Bruce), the detective notices a choking young man and his wife, who, in tears, is trying to persuade others to save her lover. Here, for the first time, we meet with the positive side of Bruce: the remnants of conscience and the desire to bring good to society. The attempt to save the young man was not crowned with success for the detective, but Mary, the wife of the deceased, remembered his feat.
The following scenes of the meeting with Murry serve as a release in the bacchanal plot of the film and contrastly illustrate the confrontation between Bruce’s two inner essences: a sociopath and a man who knows how to love and sympathize. Mary is the last stronghold of Bruce’s humanity, the ghost of those good qualities that still glimmer in him.
The rules are the same everywhere
In the finale, the film stops shaking the viewer with daring comedic scenes on the verge of a foul and changes the nature of the narrative – now it is a cautionary tale with a moralizing bias. Obviously, such a crazy lifestyle that Bruce led could not lead to a happy ending. The feeling of guilt eats from within the main character. In the finale, the phrase that Robertson repeatedly utters during the film: “The rules are the same everywhere,” takes on a new meaning. By the rules of the game, everyone pays for their misdeeds and the price of Bruce’s mistakes is his own life.