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Bruce Robertson is the main protagonist of Irvine Welsh's 1998 novel Filth as well as its 2013 film adaptation of the same name. He is an incredibly corrupt and depraved sergeant detective residing in Edinburgh who is infamous for his violent tendencies, explosive temper, perverted behavior, xenophobia and manipulative tendencies.

While undoubtedly a villainous character in the original novel, the film version is far more subdued and is shown to be a better person while still containing his personality's darker aspects.

He was portrayed by James McAvoy who also portrayed Charles Xavier in the X-Men film series and the adult Bill Denbrough in IT: Chapter II.


Early Life

Not much of Bruce's childhood is known unlike his book counterpart however what is known as that at some point in his youth Bruce accidentally killed his younger brother Davey by pushing him into a coal bunker for a joke something which caused his already estranged and cruel father to denounce him.

In his later years he grew to join the police force and went up the ranks into becoming a detective sergeant. He also married to a woman named Carole and had a daughter with her. However she ended up leaving Bruce along with their daughter after his Bipolar Disorder became worse to the point of him becoming completely evil and amoral. As a coping mechanism Bruce began dressing up as Carole in an attempt to keep the delusion that the two were still together.

Filth (2013)

After a young man revealed to be the Ghanian Ambassador's son was mugged and killed in an alleyway Bruce was put onto the case something which he accepted in an attempt to gain a promotion in spite of not intending to actually solve the case and instead engage in his own amusement of annoying, manipulating and tormenting his co-workers and excessively drinking and drug taking. Around this time as well Bruce had began prank calling Bunty Blades the wife of his best friend Clifford and was put on the additional case of finding their phantom phone caller, in spite of knowing that he himself was the one performing the calls.

Later on Bruce attempts to save a man having a heart attack in the middle of the street only for him to die anyway leaving Bruce showing severe remorse and pity for the man's wife Mary. He is later visited by she and her son on a few occasions throughout the story.

Bruce and Clifford then take their annual trip to Amsterdam during which Bruce's mental state drops significantly and he begins becoming disorientated and having constant hallucinations to the point of total insanity. This continues after he returns home and after being scolded by his boss for not solving either of his cases and showing up to work in a completely wrecked state Bruce becomes desperate and frames Clifford as the phantom phone caller to his wife. Bruce takes this charade too far however and opts to beat Clifford to a pulp in his holding cell before returning to reality and becoming overwhelmed with guilt.

During the clmiax dons his Carloe disguise and gets kidnapped by Graeme Gorman and his gang; with it being revealed that he witnessed the murder of the ambassador's son the gang in the underpass under his disguise. The gang then arrive at an abandoned warehouse, in which Bruce is brutally tortured and beaten by Gorman. Bruce is brought back to his senses however when Gorman pauses the brawl to begin making out with Bruce prompting Bruce to fight back in a fit of pure fury before eventually throwing Gorman from the window to his demise.

This event results in Bruce failing to receive the promotion with Lennox getting it instead and Bruce himself ends up being demoted. Overcame with trauma and grief Bruce records an apology video to Clifford before preparing to hang himself from a mantel in his hallway only to hesitate as he sees Mary and her son arriving at his door. Once they leave thinking Bruce isn't in; he looks to the audience telling them that "the same rules apply" before laughing maniacally and kicking the chair from his feet, killing himself.

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