After more than two decades as one of the world's most recognizable stars, Madonna steps behind the camera for the first time with this comedy drama about a handful of bohemians struggling to make a name for themselves in London, which… More After more than two decades as one of the world's most recognizable stars, Madonna steps behind the camera for the first time with this comedy drama about a handful of bohemians struggling to make a name for themselves in London, which she both wrote and directed. A.K. (Eugene Hutz) is a Ukrainian émigré and struggling musician who fronts a band blending gypsy music with punk rock. Still coming to terms with a childhood pock-marked by abuse, A.K. believes that one has to confront the seamy side of life to find enlightenment, and with this in mind he supports himself by torturing masochists for money while dressed in military gear. Living in the same decaying apartment block as A.K. is Holly (Holly Weston), a gifted dancer who dreams of becoming a ballet star, though now she's forced to degrade herself as a stripper at a "gentleman's nightclub." A.K. is enamored of Holly, but can't work up the nerve to make a move. Elsewhere in the building, Juliette (Vicky McClure) wants to help children in the Third World, but is biding her time working at a pharmacy, where she swipes medicine for charity when she isn't pocketing recreational material for herself, and Professor Flynn (Richard E. Grant) is a blind poet who is surrounded by a personal library of books he can no longer read. Filth and Wisdom also features several performances by Gogol Bordello, the band Eugene Hutz leads in real life; the film received its world premiere at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival.
Consensus: Filth and Wisdom, while certainly ambitious, is mostly unconvincing and incoherent.