0 for two

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

For the woman who literally wrote the book on sex, Madonna's directorial debut Filth and Wisdom is surprisingly tame. Perhaps less surprising, it's also light on wisdom, but it is filled with faux-meaningful bits of dialogue like, "She don't know she's starving, too."

That line is said by A.K. (Eugene Hutz, frontman of gypsy-punk group Gogol Bordello), an aspiring musician who pays the bills by acting as the dominant for pervy paying clients.

The emotionally hungry woman is pharmacy assistant Juliette (Vicky McLure), a pill popper and petty thief who's obsessed with starving orphans in Africa. Third roommate Holly (Holly Weston) is a broke ballet dancer who turns to stripping at A.K.'s prompting.

The three leads do their best, but the script (co-written by Madonna and frequent Guy Ritchie crew member Dan Cadan) is a hodgepodge of art-house cliches, especially A.K.'s frequent breaking of the fourth wall as narrator. Madonna's directing isn't much better, mostly resembling one of her own early-'90s music videos.

Hutz is the only person to escape this anywhere near scot-free. His Ukrainian fetishist schtick wears thin by the end of the film, but all is forgiven during a performance by Gogol Bordello. It not only makes the film bearable, but actually enjoyable, even if it was only for the briefest of moments.

"Filth and Wisdom"