Gary M. Kramer
* * *
This frenzied adaptation of a novel by Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting) has Bruce (James McAvoy, charmingly manic), a corrupt cop, exploiting his co-workers’ weaknesses—which includes a photocopied penis-guessing contest—to earn a promotion. The naughty Filth has wicked fun chronicling Bruce participating in erotic asphyxiation, prank call phone sex, cross-dressing and other “perversions.” It is more ironic-amusing than nasty, though there is one icky vomit scene. However, the depraved Filth cannot maintain its tricky high-wire act and also be sentimental and serious. As Bruce comes undone—haunted by guilt, he sees grotesque animal faces on people—so does this bipolar film.
The Love Punch
In The Love Punch, Kate (Emma Thompson) and Richard (Pierce Brosnan) are a divorced couple working together to recapture their lost pensions. What should be a sparkling, sophisticated comedy, however, is a stupid farce that wastes its talented cast. Kate and Richard bicker throughout, but of course they belong together. They plot to steal a diamond in France—a scheme that involves driving down staircases, kidnapping and silly charades involving costumes and accents. All of this is painfully unfunny, and it is downright embarrassing to watch Bronson mugging throughout. Thompson tries to maintain her dignity, but The Love Punch pummels her—and viewers.
* * *
Kelly Reichardt makes quiet films about thoughtful, despairing characters. Her latest, Night Moves, opens strongly with Josh (Jesse Eisenberg) and Dena (Dakota Fanning) coordinating a plan with Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) to sabotage a dam. The details in the script are superb; there is an intense sequence featuring Dena trying to buy massive amounts of fertilizer illegally. But once the operation takes place, and a bad situation develops, Night Moves slackens. It moralizes about taking responsibility for one’s actions. The characters make foolish choices, prompting the viewer to lose both sympathy and patience. The performances are strong, but the film should have been stronger.