Gypsy, Tramp, And Thief
By Jason Lamphier
�Filth and wisdom: They are two sides of the same coin.� This is the first of many adages that spill from the mouth of A.K., the immigrant protagonist in Madonna�s picaresque directorial debut, Filth and Wisdom. Played by Eugene H�tz, the Ukrainian lead singer of gypsy punk act Gogol Bordello, A.K. swaggers through London, funding his dream of rock superstardom by aiding a blind professor and spanking horny businessmen as a role-playing hustler.
He is not alone in his bohemian quest: One of his flatmates, the pill-popping Juliette (Vicky McClure), pockets medicine from her pharmacy job and hopes to one day run off to Africa to help needy children (Madonna�s not-so-subtle activist plug). Meanwhile, his other flatmate and love interest, Holly (Holly Weston), studies ballet while moonlighting as a pole-dancer (to songs like Madonna�s �Erotica,� naturally).
But it is H�tz�s goofily mustachioed A.K., flipping from whip-happy neo-Nazi to raunchy headmaster to shabby cross-dresser, who delivers, showing that steadfast optimism -- with a splash of debauchery -- can actually pay off. After all, as he declares in the film, �If you want to reach the sky, fuck a duck and hope to fly.�
Filth and Wisdom opens in theaters October 17.