filthBruce ‘the Stallion’ Robertson: alcoholic, drug addict, compulsive liar, amoral sociopath, sexual pervert – and senior Detective Sergeant. This cheeky adaptation of the novel by Irvine Welsh is a giddy dive into the bleak underbelly of Scottish policing. Bruce (James McAvoy), as with many of Welsh’s anti-heroes, is a ruthless hedonist with a silver tongue, gunning for a top promotion at any cost. But apparitions of his wife and brother (estranged? dead?) suggest he is more complex than your average Glaswegian dipsomaniac.

McAvoy, whose formative years were spent in Drumchapel, clearly revels in playing a grotesque, scheming bastard, and he’s never been better. Yet in spite of the often grisly material (we witness forced underage fellatio within the first 20 minutes) director Jon S. Baird keeps things broad and playful. The odd tone – a Brit-com head with a gritty arthouse heart – won’t be for all tastes, but for the most part,Filth is savagely entertaining: a cathartic, darkly funny portrait of self-destruction. [John Nugent]


Ikarie XB-1


Rather blandly retitled as ‘Voyage To The End Of The Universe” in some English-speaking markets, the snappily-monikered Ikarie XB-1 (the title alludes to Icarus, the Greek mythological character who flew too close to the sun) is a rather wonderful trailblazing sci-fi from 1963. Set a couple of centuries in the future, it follows a spaceship on a mission to a distant star system in the hopeful search for life.

Technically brilliant, there’s a devout attention to detail across the board, particularly in the impressive production design (the influence on Stanley Kubrick is plain to see); only a robot called Patrik who looks like an antique toy dates poorly.

But Ikarie XB-1’s real strengths lie in its ideas: the script ponders the impact of relativity, of extraterrestrial life, of the unhinging claustrophobia of long-term space travel. A classic of Eastern bloc filmmaking, it summons that early thrill of discovery and dread of the unknown that the space programme once invoked.

Ikarie XB-1 is out on DVD next week.

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