Filth: a detective gunning for promotion is also heading for a breakdown, but how long can he keep his many plates spinning? This is the latest movie adaptation of an Irvine Welsh book, and feels like it’s going for a “Trainspotting for the teenies” angle. It would be silly to complain about the content of a film called Filth, but in case you need a heads-up: it’s crammed with deviant sex & sexuality, drug use, violence, and oodles of fantastically creative swearing, amongst other things. The over-emphasis of the of the craziness going on in Bruce’s mind – hallucinations, binges, sex, porn – don’t really detract from the story, because Bruce’s nose-candy nose-dive IS the story. Despite all the headline-grabbing controversial content crammed into this, the main talking point is undoubtedly James McAvoy’s performance; in an era where leading men no longer required to be likeable or even remotely empathetic, he works wonders with the few tiny slivers of humanity he gets. My biggest concern of the picture however is it’s extremely unflattering – and wholly unrealistic – take on Scotland and it’s culture: if it’s not films about the Loch Ness Monster, it’s about the druggies of Trainspotting, Red Road, NEDS, and now Filth – the Scottish tourist board must really hate our film industry.
Neon Flesh (Carne de neón) [Minor spoilers]: a small-time pimp opens a brothel to impress his mum, unbeknownst to him juggling prostitutes, gangsters and his crazy friends isn’t that easy! From the first frame this stinks of the last 15 years of thugz ‘n’ drugz type geezer movies; a ton of characters introduced one by one with quick cuts, in-frame text and cheeky chappy explanatory narration… it never really aims higher than that. A major weakness is that – although there’s sometimes good intentions in the longer run – individual story elements include: selling a baby, a transvestite getting their meat shot off, buying and disciplining trafficked women, playing Alzheimer’s for laughs, animal porn, a random woman ending up in a porno… it makes the characters hard to like, and some situations difficult to watch. Although it’s not original, the film’s style is perhaps the biggest positive; fast cuts, punchy visuals, slick camerawork… it looks great. You can find a handful of standout performances by heavyweight actors that don’t deserve to be tucked away in a film this schloky – there’s also a few moments of solid drama in the final act, but by then it’s too late. The major downfall with Neon Flesh is the juxtaposed premise: a ‘slapstick comedy/crime caper set in a whorehouse‘. Trying to juggle the upbeat tone and loaded subject matter is too big a task for the director – and although I can usually see through gratuitous violence, smut, and bad taste – this one really goes to town.
Father’s Day: a string of dads are being raped and killed by “The Fuchman”, so a priest travels the globe to track down the one-eyed anti-hero that can save the day. There’s dismemberment, gore, cannibalism & masturbation in the first few frames, so be under no illusions… this is exploitation smut at it’s most rotten! For the first 20 minutes, it’s not entirely obvious whether this is trying to be a serious b-movie or a comedy spoof; but as the gags start piling on it becomes clear. The film marries tongue in cheek genre humour with outlandish and graphic shocks; epitomised in a dick-biting scene which leaves little to the imagination. For a Troma-funded b-movie, it does well to capture the guerilla / ‘cult’ / independent / cheap vibe, synonymous with the brand – and for a low-budget movie, the budget is impressively stretched to infinity. It’s well-shot, but smothered in post-production Machete-esque grain and distortion which comes and goes for no particular reason. Towards the end it becomes totally absurd, the likes of which I can only really compare to some of the CKY skits from the first 4 videos, still it remains funny and entertaining. Father’s Day is a post-Machete, sub-Hobo, spoof / homage of the direct-to-video slashers of the 70s/80s, with a ton of blood and titties to keep modern audiences satisfied. While it lacks a coherent narrative, there’s a thousand ideas thrown at it, which is more than enough to save the movie, and leaves B-movie aficionados plenty like and admire.