Starring: James McAvoy, Eddie Marsan, Imogen Poots, Jim Broadbent, Joanne Froggatt, Jamie Bell, Gary Lewis
Directed by: Jon S. Baird
Synopsis: A bipolar, bigoted junkie cop manipulates and hallucinates his way through the festive season in a bid to secure promotion and win back his wife and daughter.
This is one crazy film, as you would expect from the pen of Irvine Welsh, the writer of Trainspotting. It lives up to it’s name gloriously.
James McAvoy plays Bruce Robertson, a dirty cop in every sense of the word. He looks terrible (really, really terrible), smells terrible and acts terrible. He’s a manipulative backstabber, a homophobic, racist, misogynist who guzzles booze and drugs like it’s going out of fashion. McAvoy plays the role superbly, relishing every swig, snort and swear. The washed out colouring of the film only adds to it’s bleakness. Seriously, if you want cheering up then you’ve come to the wrong place.
Bruce’s wife and daughter have walked out on him and shacked up with someone else. He is sure that by winning promotion to Inspector that he will win them back. The trouble is, he is up against about five other colleagues, and his state of mind is frazzled to say the least. He tries to turn his colleagues against each other at every opportunity, he tries to belittle his friends (or friend) and just has a general disdain for life.
The film reminded me, in some of the hallucinatory scenes of something like Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, specifically the scenes with Jim Broadbent as a Doctor, with his comical looning (Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees Bruce, Ehhhhhhhhhhh Bruce). Some other scenes, this time the druggy ones are reminiscent of, obviously, Trainspotting and it’s grimy legacy. Seriously, after watching those two films, you would think Scotland is the worst place on Earth.
The cast are all decent, but McAvoy undoubtedly steals the show as the puffy, pickled and down right disgusting Bruce. He is entirely convincing and maniacal, and does a good job of convincing you he is Bipolar. Other stand outs are Imogen Poots and the aforementioned Broadbent who really is funny.
To summarise, those with a low tolerance to, well, filth, should look away as this film really is grimy in the extreme. Those who are a fan of the writers previous work, or of just so dark it’s pitch black comedy will find much to enjoy.