Filth Movie Explained (Plot And Ending Explained)

Filth is a 2013 psychological drama directed by Jon S. Baird. The plot follows a detective looking to get a promotion to become an inspector, and he uses every immoral way possible to try and get it. The cast is excellent, but James McAvoy simply steals the show. The film is quite the mind-bender, do check it out. Here’s the plot and ending of the movie Filth explained; spoilers ahead.

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Here are links to the key aspects of the movie:

Filth Movie Summary

Filth is a movie about one man’s moral decadence. The film follows Bruce, whose life and actions exponentially go from bad to worse until he finally commits suicide.

Filth Movie: Same Rules Apply: Explained

The phrase “Same Rules Apply” repeatedly appears in the film. As explained by Bruce at the start, no matter what the game is – life, career, relationships, one must do everything in their power to succeed, ethical or not. The consequence is that things will boomerang back and ruin you; some cultures call this karma. What happens to Bruce in Filth is precisely this.

Filth Movie: Plot Explained

Who is that ghost kid, Davie? What happened to him?

We’re told that Bruce was possibly a bastard child. When he was young, he and his stepbrother, Davie, went playing at the coal mountain. Bruce was an insecure kid and, in the heat of an argument with Davie, pushed him. Davie fell, got covered in coal, choked, and died.

Did Bruce kill his brother, Davie?

No, I believe he was jealous of Davie, but his death was an accident. But Bruce has clearly been carrying the guilt of the boy’s death over the decades.

What’s wrong with Bruce?

What's wrong with Bruce?

Growing up as an insecure child, Bruce becomes a manipulative bully. Bruce takes up a detective job as it is a position of power and facilitates his bullying. As a result, Bruce is left without any true friends. He indulges in booze and drugs, and we’re also shown that Bruce is suffering from Bipolar Disorder. Additionally, Bruce has an inferiority complex concerning the size of his manhood.

What happened to Bruce’s family – Carole and Stacey? Why did his wife leave?

Carole Filth

It’s apparent that Carole left Bruce, and he also lost access to his daughter, Stacy. It appears that Bruce was abusive and probably even cheated on Carole. She got out and eventually married a black man. We can see how this adds to Bruce’s sexual frustration, shown explicitly in the scene where Bruce is watching porn and angrily turns it off when a black man enters the scene.

Bruce imagines a narrative that his wife will be back with him once he gets promoted. Every scene where we see a seductive Carole addressing the audience is really Bruce dressing up in women’s clothing and telling himself a lie. He’s in denial, and it’s clear that he hasn’t told anyone at work about his family.

Who is Dr Rossi?

Who is Dr. Rossi?

Dr Rossi is the psychiatrist treating Bruce for his Bipolar condition. We only see one instance of Dr Rossi, the actual doctor. Bruce acts like everything is normal, and he’s making significant progress. After this, Bruce stops taking his medication, and his hallucinations become awful.

The crazy Dr Rossi that we see periodically in the film is Bruce’s subconscious constantly reminding him how disgusting a person he has become, the filth that he is.

The Japanese Student’s Murder Case

A mugging goes wrong when a Japanese student is beaten to death by local thugs. On one of his nights dressed as Carole, Bruce witnesses the murder, and the thugs run away. The department is sincerely investigating this only because of the vast media attention the case has been getting. Bruce is handed the case and is promised a promotion if he cracks it.

Though Bruce witnessed the murder, he saw it when he was dressed as Carole. To keep his cross-dressing a secret, Bruce plans to match DNA from the club the gang frequents to incriminate them for killing the Japanese student. 

The Promotion

Instead of focusing on the case, Bruce does everything in his power to discredit the other candidates for the promotion.

He sleeps with a colleague’s wife and wrecks their marriage.

He exposes another for being gay, which is shown to be frowned upon in the department.

Clifford considers Bruce to be his best friend. However, Bruce frequently makes obscene phone calls to Clifford’s wife, Bunty, and eventually pins it on Clifford.

His focus then moves to Amanda, who is assigned the case as Bruce has not made any progress. But she’s a strong woman and is not swayed by Bruce’s threats.

Bruce overlooks rookie, Ray Lennox, who he frequently does drugs with. Ray automatically becomes a top prospect for the position because Bruce has discredited most of the other worthy candidates for the promotion. 

DNA Test

Bruce takes Ray along to a club to slyly get the DNA of the gang members. Only Ray knows this trail of the investigation. With Bruce out of the way, Ray proves that the gang murdered the Japanese student. Same Rules Apply – Ray does whatever it takes to win.

This department is shown to be highly close-minded and biased, so Amanda is not considered even though she’s a competent woman.

Who is Mary?

Mary is a stranger that Bruce encounters when her husband is choking in the street. Through Mary, we are shown a sliver of goodness that Bruce still has. A part of him is apologetic for his aggressive ways. We even see this when he shouts at Amanda and immediately apologizes to her, saying he wouldn’t hit her. This scene also tells us that Bruce was abusive towards Carole.

On the street, Bruce is the only one who tries to help resuscitate Mary’s husband. Unfortunately, the man dies, but Mary later thanks Bruce and tells her son that people like Bruce are who he should look up to. Bruce cringes at this because he knows what he is, filth. But Bruce develops a soft corner for Mary and gives her his phone and address in case she needed any help. While the movie places Mary perfectly so we can see Bruce turn over a new leaf and redeem himself, it isn’t meant to be.

The Gang

The girl in the gang happens to recognize Bruce to be the freaky lady they saw while beating up the Japanese student and informs the gang leader, Graeme Gorman. The group grabs Bruce on one of his cross-dressing nights, and Graeme plans to kill him. Bruce doesn’t fight them off as, in his mind, he believes he’s Carole. He even says, “My husband is Detective Bruce Robertson”. 

Graeme is all about toxic masculinity. While Graeme calls Bruce a freak, he’s shown to be turned on by the cross-dressing. In that short moment they kiss, Bruce gains the upper hand and tosses Graeme through the window and kills him.

Filth Movie Ending Explained

Filth movie ending explained

The ending of the movie Filth reveals that Bruce has been cross-dressing as Carole, who has left him because he was abusive. Bruce creates a false narrative in his head that his family will be whole again if he gets promoted to Inspector.

Because of the turn of events leading to Graeme’s death, Bruce is demoted. Ray is promoted to Inspector and shows up at Bruce’s place to rub it in his face. Ray has also figured out that Bruce was the phantom phone caller.

Bruce has lost everything and doesn’t see value in living on. He wears his uniform and records a message for Clifford, apologizing for bullying and mistreating him. He realizes that Clifford was his one true friend and advises him to be more assertive and win Bunty over. Clifford does precisely that after watching the video.

Mary calls Bruce but gets Bruce’s answering machine. She likes Bruce and wants to drop by with her son, but he doesn’t hear the message. He prepares to hang himself, and he sees the silhouettes of Mary and her son at his door. Just when we think Bruce is saved, the chair gives way, and Bruce hangs to death. His motto, “same rules apply”, has brought him to this juncture. Bruce says this line one last time and laughs hysterically because there is nothing he can do at this point to save himself.

And there you have it! What were your thoughts about the movie Filth and its ending? Do leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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