Madonna Filth & Wisdom

Madonna Filth & Wisdom
Light on filth and devoid of wisdom, Madonna’s directorial debut desperately wants to be European art house chic — specifically French new wave: yikes! — but winds up as an ineptly written and juxtaposed series of glum, passionless musical montages. An overall message that sagaciousness comes from rolling around in the gutter with odious self-inclinations does little to help an already floundering narrative and is frankly, juvenile.

The ribaldries start when A.K. (Eugene Hutz), a Ukrainian immigrant living in England working as a male dominatrix while struggling as a musician, suggests to Holly (Holly Weston), a down-on-her-luck ballerina, that she shake her tits around on stage for cash. While flat-mate Juliette (Vicky McClure) is revolted by the suggestion, herself being more interested in stealing pharmaceuticals from her place of employment, Holly is intrigued and starts in on the pole dancing lessons.

Meanwhile, a blind homosexual writer (Richard E. Grant) occasionally pops into their lives to provide some helpful insights and exposition when not sitting alone in his library sniffing and licking his books.

It all stems from childhood abuse and other glib oversimplifications but is nicely scored with Hutz’s Gypsy punk Gogol Bordello sounds that some might recognize from the far superior and underrated Wristcutters: A Love Story, a film that featured a central character based on Eugene Hutz the actor and musician.

Unintentional laughter may be the only pleasure derived from Filth & Wisdom, which itself is little more than a series of cheap music videos and bizarre imagery involving men riding each other like horses and naughty school girl fun.

This slaphappy tale of tongue-in-cheek deviance may intrigue some with its occasional piecemeal approach, broken fourth walls and awkwardly positioned humour but a desultory plot and paper-thin character sketches leave almost nothing with which the audience can connect. (Maximum)