Owen Gleiberman
October 16, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Filth and Wisdom

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
81 minutes
Limited Release Date
10/17/08
performer
Eugene Hutz, Richard E. Grant, Stephen Graham
director
Madonna
author
Dan Cadan
genre
Drama, Comedy

We gave it a C

In Madonna’s directorial debut Filth and Wisdom, A.K. (Eugene Hutz), a gratingly boisterous Ukrainian gypsy with a Joseph Stalin mustache, turns to the camera to say that ”filth” and ”wisdom” are just alternate paths to the same Truth. That’s a promising idea for a Madonna film, but this fragmented and genially campy ensemble comedy only rarely makes good on it. A.K. and his London flatmates moonlight in the sex trade: He’s a dominatrix, Holly (Holly Weston) is a ballet dancer?turned?stripper, and shy Juliette (Vicky McClure) assists in S&M fantasy sessions. The movie is short on wisdom, but it might have gotten by if it had had better filth. C

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