Critic's Pick

Two films, two sides to James McAvoy

James McAvoy offers an interesting double-feature option this weekend: 'X-Men' and 'Filth'

There's an interesting James McAvoy double-feature option in theaters this weekend, a real-time study in contrasts, of big versus small, if you will. One of the Scottish actor's movies you may have heard of — "X-Men: Days of Future Past." The other, "Filth," might not be on your radar yet, but the indie begins its run in L.A. on Friday.

It is natural to assume that McAvoy's bigger performance is as Charles Xavier/Professor X in the blockbuster. Yet in the latest, and best, installment of the sprawling action-adventure, he goes small, delivering an intimate, emotional performance filled with nuance. "Filth," however, a crime comedy-drama, is a scream — sometimes quite literally. Playing a drugged-out, bipolar, bigoted cop in Edinburgh, Scotland, McAvoy's Bruce would be caustic even without the complications. In fact, everything about Bruce is extreme, including his rage.

Though Charles and Bruce are worlds apart in every way, starting with empathy or lack of it, McAvoy is the excellent constant in both. It's rather incredible to watch the actor flex his creative muscles across time and space — and Scotland.


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