Filth and Wisdom

Madonna’s directorial debut Filth and Wisdom reminds me of her controversial photo book Sex: It’s not as sexy as it thinks it is, and it is kind of an incohesive mishmash of images and ideas

Genre(s): Comedy, Drama, Music

Director: Madonna

Actors: Eugene Hütz, Holly Weston, Vicky McClure, Richard E. Grant, Olegar Fedoro

Year: 2008

MPAA Rating: R

Country: USA

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To Madonna’s credit, she got Eugene Hutz to star in her first film as a director. Not conventionally handsome, Eugene has a big nose, handlebar moustache, a floppy mullet, and is tall and kind of gangly. But if you’ve seen this guy (acting) in the fabulous Everything is Illuminated or (singing) in his band Gogol Bordello, you know that Eugene has GOT IT. So, the most interesting thing about this film is getting to see Eugene (as his character A.K.) dress up in Soviet uniforms and in drag, and ply his skills as a call-boy for men who want to lick his boots. He’s not particularly into it, but the film doesn’t really judge the men either. Or doesn’t judge them too much.

A.K.’s roommates are two women, one, Holly (Holly Weston), who is a ballerina that A.K. has a crush on, and the other is Juliette (Vicky McClure), a pharmacist, who dreams of saving impoverished children in Africa. Other than occasionally meeting over the kitchen table and shooting the shit, these characters don’t really interact a whole lot, or frankly have much chemistry together.

You’d think Juliette would be a lesbian because of her androgynous butchie look, but she is (if anything) kind of asexual, not exactly spurning the attention of her horny male (married) boss soley because she realizes she can get a plane ticket to Africa out of him. Holly, on the other hand, is hitting the wall in pursuit of her dream of being a ballerina, so she starts moonlighting at a strip club, dancing (of course) to Britney Spears in the perfect Catholic schoolgirl outfit.

To be honest, this all sounds more interesting than it is. Filth and Wisdom is bookended by A.K. talking directly to the camera with some pseudo philosophical views on life. But this philosophy is not particularly interesting, or groundbreaking, or even specific enough to justify the film. The movie ends up being basically a collage of these three characters’ every day lives. And unfortunately their lives aren’t interesting or sexy enough to justify a feature movie.

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