Thursday, October 30, 2008

Filth and Wisdom


Eugene Hutz appeared in a movie a few years back called Everything is Illuminated. Playing a snide Eastern European with a thick garbled English vocabulary his character preceded Borat by a year, although the latter has actually been seen by millions whereas Hutz may only be known inside the circle of musical admirers of his gypsy rock genre band Gogol Bordello. Nonetheless Hutz cuts a confident path across Filth and Wisdom sporting a handlebar moustache and spouting Malapropisms like "Florence Nightingbird" in his comic Ukrainian accent.
Thing is apart from the spine of the film, that if you dwell in the gutter long enough you start to seek knowledge and wisdom out of the natural circular cycle of life, there's very little going on. Hutz as A.K. lives with two hot femmes and they all need more money. It's a bizarre twist on a type of Three's Company relation where A.K., who runs a B&D; service out of the apartment, talks Juliette and Holly (Vicky McClure and Holly Weston) into stripping and helping out with things like spanking the customers. Filth and Wisdom presents a lascivious environment that's pure sit-com fantasy. You wouldn't know it to look at it but Filth and Wisdom was directed and co-written by Madonna. For instance, you know that Guy Richie directed RocknRolla because of the way he explores fringe characters in the London underground. Madonna keeps the camera steady and stays away from too obvious choices.
Sure the strip club scenes occasionally give the film momentum, but most of Filth and Wisdom just sort of happens without rhyme or reason, just kind of lies there. Still there's no denying Hutz as a screen stealer, and Gogol Bordello live will pop open your eyes. Filth and Wisdom offers a heightened look at the kind of working class lives that come off with greater truth in Michael Winterbottom or Mike Leigh films.


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