Even though Madonna has proven to be a shrewd businesswoman with a nose for cultural trends, developing the relationships and industry reputation to get the backing for a feature film doesn't necessarily mean that she should have. In fact, there's really nothing to suggest skill set similarities between making a movie and singing badly while dancing around on a stage in leotards, occasionally dry humping a bed, dancer or stray set decoration.
And just like Filth & Wisdom, W.E. proves this with aplomb, being little more than a laughable, desultory mess with a ridiculously superficial and strained perspective masked by absurdly mishmashed editing and amateurish footage. Perhaps if it had just been another pretentious vanity piece like Wisdom, this could be forgivable, but this time Madonna felt compelled to crap on Wallis Simpson (Andrea Risebrough) and King Edward VIII (James Darcy) in the process.
Juxtaposing the story of Wallis and King Edward ― wherein he renounced his throne to be with the twice divorced American woman ― with that of a depressed and potentially schizophrenic trophy wife similarly named Wally (Abbie Cornish), W.E. attempts, unsuccessfully, to mirror the loss of personal freedoms and anonymity with marrying rich.
Both women get the shit kicked out of them ― quite vividly ― and have the same flair for overacting, but share very little else beyond fashion as a necessary evil to titillate men, who are "visual creatures." What this means is that they sit around in lacy underwear in front of a mirror a great deal looking despondent, when not dipping into each other's lives like ghosts to offer an insult or supporting word.
If this weren't a weak enough template for a film, Madonna's approach to the material drives the B.S. meter up to maximum with a constant soundtrack to compensate for the fact that none of the shots fit together or have any sort of self-conscious, organic flow. There are random close-ups of eyeballs, slow motion scenes of people walking, shots of incidental crap lying around and inexplicable hand-held sequences of scenes intended to provide clarity.
None of this is intended as genre subversion or an emotional contrast, rather it's a demonstration of filmmaking ineptitude by someone out of their element. Of course, there is something intriguing about watching a film that has absolutely no awareness of itself.
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