Director Madonna as good as actor Madonna: critics

Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:29am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

BERLIN (Reuters) - Critics damned Madonna's first feature film with faint praise on Thursday and suggested her career behind the camera might be as successful as her acting.

"Filth & Wisdom" had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival on Wednesday and early reviews agreed a poor-to-average movie was saved by its exuberance.

"Ragged, uneven and potholed with some dire dialogue and performances, the film's cockeyed optimism and likeable leads conspire to bring a smile by the time it's done," wrote Ray Bennett of movie publication the Hollywood Reporter.

Screen International's Jonathan Romney argued "Filth & Wisdom" was not as bad as some of Madonna's appearances in front of the camera, such as "Shanghai Surprise" and "Swept Away," but it was "likely to be forgotten as quickly as most of them."

James Christopher of the Times, in a review billed as "exclusive," was among the film's biggest fans, giving it three stars out of five.

"What saves the film is its sheer exuberance, and, of course, the music," he said. "Altmanesque would be stretching the compliment too far, but 'Filth and Wisdom' shows Madonna has real potential as a film director."

At the other end of the scale, Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian gave one star to the 81-minute movie.

"Madonna has been a terrible actor in many, many films and now -- fiercely aspirational as ever -- she has graduated to being a terrible director," he wrote.   Continued...

<p>Madonna arrives for the screening of her film 'Filth and Wisdom' at the 58th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, February 13, 2008. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele</p>