Monthly Archives: February 2015

Filth 2013 3/5

James MacAvoy plays a drug taking, violent police officer, manipulating everyone around him in order to gain a promotion which he believes will bring him and his wife back together again.
Male Sexuality
The protagonist Bruce Robertson uses his authority in order to gain sexual favours from women, such as the young girl he tries to coerce into giving him oral sex, and the office secretary he tricks into having sex with him by using the enlarge function on the photocopier to make her think he has a bigger penis.
Bruce uses all the tricks he possible can to intimidate, bully, and turn everyone else against each other, in order to become the most eligible for the promotion. He believes that the promotion will make his wife come home again, as she will be attracted to his success.
By the end of the film, a younger character, who James used to dominate, who was depicted as having a “small penis”, gets the promotion that Bruce wanted so badly. This is too much for Bruce to bear (that he be inferior to such an individual) and contributes to his suicide.
Female Sexuality
Throughout the film, Bruce uses women, tricking them into doing what he wants using various methods. By the end of the film, he is raped by one of his lovers who demands sex from him. This signals his downfall.
Representations of Mental Illness
Bruce’s coworker emplores him to seek help, but he brushes her off, thinking it’s some sort of tactic to rise through the ranks (ahead of him).
The film ends with Bruce choosing suicide over the love of a new lover, who is presented as a kind recently widowed mother of a young boy.
Running Time
97 min.
 United Kingdom
Jon S. Baird
Jon S. Baird (Novel: Irvine Welsh)
Matthew Jensen
James McAvoy, Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell, Joanne Froggatt, Eddie Marsan, Jim Broadbent, Emun Elliott, Kate Dickie, Shirley Henderson, Ron Donachie, Martin Compston, Iain De Caestecker, Pollyanna McIntosh
Production Co.
Steel Mill Pictures / Logie Pictures / Altitude Film Entertainment
Thriller. Comedy | Black comedy. Crime. Drugs
Synopsis / Plot
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. Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy), a corrupt, cocaine-snorting, hard-drinking Edinburgh cop, is angling for a promotion to detective inspector, and is prepared to secure it by any means necessary. After a messy marriage split, however, his mind might not be as sharp as it was…
Critics Reviews
  • “Baird sticks quite faithfully to Welsh’s novel, though he dilutes its relentlessly nasty tone and changes some minor plot points (…) Filth is still a hugely entertaining breath of foul air” 
    Stephen Dalton : The Hollywood Reporter
  • “This descent into Scotch-marinated madness begins as ugly comedy, segues imperceptibly into farcical tragedy, and inevitably — perhaps intentionally — loses control in the process” 
    Guy Lodge: Variety
  • “A bulked-up James McAvoy dominates the screen in this razor-sharp Glasgow smile of a black comedy, packed with aberrant sex, hard drugs and maximum David Soul. (…) Rating: ★★★★ (out of five)” 
    Damon Wise: Empire
  • “After a certain point, watching it is like listening to the ravings of an increasingly incoherent and abusive drunk.” 
    Stephen Holden: The New York Times
  • “‘Filth’ (…) is wired to explode. Even when the film falls to pieces, McAvoy’s bonkers brilliance will blow you away. (…) Rating: ★★★ (out of four)” 
    Peter Travers: Rolling Stone

Rape Statistics from “Rape Crisis UK”

When I tell female friends that I’ll be starting a masters in Feminism and Gender in September, they tell me: “I’m so jealous. Let me know some really good statistics about issues that affect women!”. So here’s a collection I made after reading about the Femicide Census project, which aims to collate data of women murdered by men, in order to tackle violence against women more effectively. This is taken from Rape Crisis UK.

Myth Women shouldn’t go out alone, especially at night. Women are most likely to be raped outside, by strangers in dark alleyways, and this is the best way for a woman to protect herself.

Fact Women are often advised to avoid sexual violence by never walking alone at night. But in fact, only around 10% of rapes are committed by ‘strangers’. Around 90% of rapes are committed by known men; someone who the survivor has previously known, trusted, often even loved. People are raped in their homes, their workplaces and other settings where they have previously felt safe. Sometimes, the myth that rape is most commonly perpetrated by strangers can make the majority of survivors, who have been raped or sexually assaulted by someone they know, even less likely to report to the police or even confide in someone close about their experiences, for fear of not being believed, out of a sense of shame or self-blame, and/or because they have mixed feelings about getting the perpetrator ‘into trouble’. This myth can also control women’s movements and restrict their rights and freedom.

Myth The woman was drunk / took drugs / was hitch hiking / wore tight clothes / worked in the sex industry / seduced him / probably got what she was asking for.

Fact If a person is unconscious or their judgement is impaired by alcohol or drugs, legally they are unable to give consent. Having non-consensual sex with a person who is intoxicated is rape.

Rapists use a variety of excuses to attempt to discredit the women they rape and to justify their crimes. But no-one asks or deserves to be raped or sexually assaulted and 100% of the responsibility for any act of sexual violence lies with its perpetrator.

Media often refer to women in the ‘roles’ that they have – ‘young mum’, ‘grandmother’, ‘doctor’s wife’, ‘prostitute’ etc. – and describe arbitrary factors like what she was wearing or how she’d been behaving when she was sexually assaulted. The implication is that some women are more ‘innocent’ victims than others, that some are more worthy of sympathy, or that some women are partly to blame for their experience of sexual violence.

The rules imposed on women’s behaviour allow rapists to shift the responsibility for rape onto women wherever possible, so that rapists are sometimes portrayed as victims of malicious allegations, carelessness or stupidity. There is no other crime in which so much effort is expended to make the victim appear responsible.

Myth Women often make up stories or lie about being raped.

Fact For anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted, whether or not to report to the police can be a difficult decision.  At present, it’s estimated that only 15% of the 85,000 women who are raped and over 400,000 who are sexually assaulted in England and Wales every year report. One significant reason many women and girls tell us they don’t go to the police is because of their fear of not being believed.

Unfortunately, a disproportionate media focus on the very small number of cases each year that involve a so-called false allegation of sexual violence perpetuates the public perception that malicious false reporting is common. In fact, it is this perception that is entirely false. For many years, studies have suggested that false reporting rates for rape are no different from false reporting rates for any other crime, that is, around 4%. In March 2013, the Crown Prosecution Service published a survey confirming that false rape reports are ‘very rare’ and suggesting they could make up less than 1% of all reports. Read more here.

Music, Death, Life, and Lindy

A few months before my Mum died, I put some music on Spotify, and my mum said: “Ah great, I love jazz”. She told me about how as a student in Belfast, she used to go to jazz events in a hotel in the city by herself because her friends weren’t into the music but she was. I’d known her my whole life, lived with her for 18 years, and I never knew that she liked that type of music. I suppose that she was a private person, and I was a difficult teenager (which she always refuted, but I know I was a complete twat), but still. I felt grateful then that she was dying of cancer, and that we still had a few precious moments left together when she was (relatively) well.

In the last few weeks of her life, when she was bed bound, we put on playlist after playlist of jazz music (she also loved Abba and the Bee Gees, but those didn’t really seem appropriate). “Which music shall we ruin now?” we joked, knowing that this music would be forever linked in our minds to watching our mother get weaker and weaker, eyes glassy with morphine, smiling when she heard our voices.

She’s been gone two months now, and I miss her like crazy. I’m incapable of going to weddings (I’ve declined 3 invitations thus far, and will probably not be going to another two) because I just can’t bear the thought of her not being there to watch me tie the knot, disapproving of everything  but also quietly, fiercely proud of the woman I’ve become.

My boyfriend and I enrolled in a Lindy Hop class in January. We dance to the swing music, which we both love, and I think about my mum. I feel close to her then, and I know that I’m doing something that she never did but would have enjoyed before she got sick. I don’t dance perfectly, but I dance for her.

To people who don’t read my blog

“Do you mind that I don’t read your blog?” my partner said. I laughed, not in the least bit offended. It’s something friends often mention indirectly too.

I understand that in the “internet age” we are constantly being bombarded (or are we doing it to ourselves?) with information. I turn on the computer to just do something “quickly” (buy a ticket, look up a train time) and suddenly I’m pottering through the delightful internet garden, reading lots of interesting things. I’ve lost x minutes of my day (probably close to an hour), my eyes hurt, and I haven’t spoken to a real person face-to-face in heck knows how long. Time is money, and it’s important not to waste it, and live in the present.

I write my blog 100% for myself, as a way of organising my thoughts, and making them open to others who might want to share theirs. People often send me questions about learning Spanish, so instead of writing a long email to each individual person, I might write a blog post, and then send them the link. It’s as simple as that.

In the beginning, I did have hopes of my blog one day having some sort of professional use, maybe involving advertising, or using it as a portfolio of my work as a writer/journalist to send to prospective jobs. As I started to write more and more, and enjoy the act of writing itself, I realised that in order to make money blogging, or have a serious journalism blog, one needs to focus in on a niche (e.g. travel, fashion) and that means you end up writing publicity, or at the very least, narrowing your field of topics.

Writing gives me a weird sense of satisfaction. Some people describe it as an addiction, but for me it’s more like medicine or physiotherapy. I need it to manage an illness, and that illness could be described as “the fear of not being heard”. I often silence myself, and the process of writing and redrafting are good ways to listen to myself and clarify my own thoughts on whatever I fancy.

People (and I must admit I have been guilty of this) often suggest the pretentious nature of having a blog. “Why do you think your thoughts are so important?”, that nasty little voice in my head asks me. I love the saying: “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly”. By having a go at writing myself, which I enjoy, I feel like I improve my skills. Also, living abroad and teaching my language, it helps me to remember how to write in English, which is something I would be in danger of losing articulacy in (if it hasn’t already happened).