Sunday, October 19, 2008

Review - Filth and Wisdom

Three flat mates lifes are put on display in Filth and Wisdom. One, a Ukrainian immigrant who dreams of trans-continental stardom for his band Gogol Bordello and meanwhile turns tricks as a cross-dressing dominatrix. He secretly desires his roommate Holly, who is an aspiring ballerina that has to work as a stripper until her dreams are fulfilled. The third roommate Juliette, has been stealing medicine from her job in hopes that one day she may travel to Africa to help children suffering from AIDS.

Filth and Wisdom is a short and sweet surprise by first time director Madonna, that really puts a smile on the viewer face. The film's simple tale that weaves three friends stories together really hits home and provided me with nothing but great vibes. The film beautifully illustrates that people who live their lives striving for wisdom, will one day find beauty in filth and vice versa. The performances by the entire cast are strong but, highlighted by Gogol Bordello frontman Eugene Hutz. Hutz carries the film and provides an electric energy along with some intriguing dialogue that really pays off.

Eugene Hutz ignites the film throughout as A.K. and really brings the best moments of Filth and Wisdom. His energy and performance really must have made Madonna's work far easier for her first production. The film seems to flow as well as the ukrainian immigrants accent does between his english, which is trance-inducting at times. The bathtub monologues that A.K. does throughout Filth and Wisdom are genius and his lines of, "there is a saying in my country," are memorable and quote worthy. A.K.'s flashbacks of his father were also done very well and really add to the depth of his side job as a dominatrix.

Hutz furthermore, is dynamic with all of the cast within Filth and Wisdom, but his screen time with Richard Grant who plays Professor Flynn, was perfect and really added a whole level of warmth I didn't expect from the film. Filth and Wisdom really has alot of heart that comes through in all the performances, which was a nice twist to a film that devels in cross-dressing, stripping, dominatrix and bigotry. The heart does not come across in a sappy way thankfully, but rather a natural progression in the story of three struggling flatmates in New York.

The music featured throughout Filth and Wisdom is Eugene Hutz's band, Gogol Bordello and they provide a whole differnt level to the film. The high energy performances of the band are amazing to see and really help to keep the viewer tied to the main character. The final performance of the band was very smile-inducing and had me tapping my feet and singing along to the immigrant-punk sound. Gogol Bordello's music is very genuine and really brings a wonderful background to Filth and Wisdom. Just like Filth and Wisdom, Gogol Bordello devels in a sultry sound and topics but uniquely provides alot of heart through the sound and tales. Ultimately the paralells between them are perfect and match what Madonna was trying to convey through the film.

Overall Filth and Wisdom was a fun and surprisingly heart-filled film. The story is short and sweet and really works well with the pacing and narrative style story-telling. The actors throughout are great and give a impressive range of varying emotions that all feel natural and work cohesively together. The music throughout Filth and Wisdom is perfect adding to the overall great vibe to the 81 minute film. Finally Filth and Wisdom is a great story that pays off all the way around keeping the viewer intrigued and entertained throughout.