UK Press: Evening Standard
UK Press: Daily Mirror

Critics give Madonna a gentle mauling for debut

This report from the AFP shows that even though many critics were critical of the film, they couldn't help but find some enjoyment while watching it:

Critics slipped their knives into Madonna's directorial film debut 'Filth and Wisdom' on Thursday, but stopped short of a fatal twist and instead offered the pop icon a pat on the back for effort.
'Not much filth and precious little wisdom,' was industry magazine Screen International's verdict on the film which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival on Wednesday.
'A good humoured, averagely amateurish vanity project,' said the reviewer, who criticised Madonna's 'creakily written' screenplay for claiming to satirise racial and social stereotypes while 'lazily perpetuating' them.
In the end, however, he joined numerous others in confessing to an unexpected level of enjoyment.
'While chaotic and more than a bit silly, the film in the end conjures up a surprising amount of goodwill,' it said.
'Filth and Wisdom,' billed as a London-based comedy, revolves around a Ukrainian immigrant who finances his dreams of rock glory by moonlighting as a cross-dressing dominatrix, and his two female flatmates.
Madonna said she aimed to capture the uncompromising drive of young, talented people who believe they can make it in show business against the odds.
Hollwood Reporter found the film 'ragged, uneven and potholed with some dire dialogue,' but acknowledged that its 'cockeyed optimism and likeable leads conspire to bring a smile by the time its done'.
Reviews in the German press were more scathing, but also agreed that 'Filth and Wisdom' had managed to save itself from joining turkeys like 'Shanghai Surprise' and 'Swept Away' in Madonna's acting Hall of Shame.
'Madonna has made a movie and it is utter trash - pseudo psychology, cheap make-up, bad lighting and a hell of a lot of scenes shot without rehearsal,' said the daily Der Tagesspiegel.
'But,' the reviewer continued, 'this crude business is all over as fast as a punk song and in that time you can have just as much fun. Not a good film, but a good surprise.'
The Frankfurter Rundschau called it a 'modestly produced comedy about survival' and argued that the film's dance and sex scenes were all references to Madonna's career as one of the most physical pop stars since Elvis.
'If you take her body out of her directing, then the film is nothing more than a picturesque little walk in the park. Just in the same way that her last tour was nothing more than a folkloric stab at subculture,' the newspaper said.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the film was 'youthfully carefree' in a review that was unable to resist the soundbite swirling temptingly around the project ever since Madonna announced her intention to take the helm.
'This woman directs like a virgin,' the newspaper said.


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