“FILTH”— A Corrupt Cop



A Corrupt Cop

Amos Lassen

Bruce Robertson is a junkie cop who is bigoted and corrupt. He is due for a promotion and is willing to do whatever necessary to get it. He is on a case to solve a murder but the hopes of .his colleagues threaten him. These include Ray Lennox (Jamie Bell) but Bruce is not going to let anything stop him. He manages to turn his colleagues against each other by stealing their wives and exposing their secrets. However, he begins to lose himself in a web of deceit over which he has lost control. His past is also catching up with him and it includes a wife who is missing and a drug habit as well as the fact that he is bipolar. The question is whether he will be a able to stay real long enough to avoid being caught up in the filth of his life.


Written and directed by Jon S. Baird this is an adaptation of the third novel by Irvine Welsh, the author of “Trainspotting”. Published in 1998, it told the black story of Bruce Robertson, an Edinburgh police detective and enthusiastic racist, homophobe, drug-abuser and woman-hater who makes life a waking hell for anyone in his blast radius.

Although he is supposed to be investigating the murder of a foreign student, Robertson spends most of the picture engaged in explicit extramarital sex, alcohol and drug abuse, and ‘The Games’, which is his term for casual psychological warfare. The victims are his colleagues in the Lothian and Borders Police (fun supporting roles for Jamie Bell, Imogen Potts and Clifford (Eddie Marsan), who comes unglued with Robertson on a guys’ weekend in Hamburg.

“Filth” comes across like a cult film. While it might not seem like a gay film, I see it as one. At first it seems to be quite homophobic but there is LGBT interest here.

Bruce Robertson is a total zero of a guy who is also racist, homophobic, a druggie, an alcoholic, and a sex machine and is ready to destroy anyone who gets in his way. He is also a bully. He is not about letting anything stop his career progression and so he makes sure that his colleagues have no chance at advancement. We learn that he is not so evil as we think because he has mental health issues with which to deal and he is in the process of losing his hold on reality. Logically a film about such a disgusting character would not work but there is humor that saves it. It is actually an entertaining film.

So what makes me think that this is an LGBT movie? There are obvious things, such as Bruce using the fact one of his colleagues is metrosexual to set him up and ruin an incredibly homophobic cops’ chances of promotion. But there are also ideas which we do not see right away. When Bruce speaks about gay people, it is usually before he wants to have sex and his talk is a reflection of his fears over his sexuality. This becomes clearer at the end of the film even though Bruce is confused about gender and sexuality as well as other issues. He reflects what he fears. In the extras to the film there is an alternate and extended scene in a public bathroom and we see Bruce handing money over to another guy.

It seems that several things that would have made Bruce’s issues clearer were toned down for the final film. In this scene, however, we realize exactly what he was paying especially when we see him kiss the guy. It certainly adds an interesting layer to a movie that only has minor LGBT interest on the surface, but which the more you think about it, the more intriguing it is.