Scraggly and aimless...
—Ed Gonzalez Slant Magazine
...creaks and strains with more ambition than most mainstream throwaways that just recycle the usual guns and poses. Not that Madonna has gone in for originality, which isn't really her thing: rather, instead of repurposing a genre, she has riffled through the art-house catalog for inspiration, as evidenced by the film's intentionally grubby visual texture, jumpy editing, direct-address commentary, freeze frames and other tricks. Although the somewhat rough visual style doesn't feel especially organic or natural for a director who has built a slick international brand with mind-blowing calculation, it does keep you interested from scene to scene, which is a more generous compliment than it might seem.
—Manohla Dargis New York Times
—Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times
Message to the director [Madonna]: Don't quit your day job just yet, but in the category of multidisciplinary artists moonlighting as filmmakers, I'll take you over Julian Schnabel any day.
—Scott Foundas LA Weekly
...I did enjoy the last five minutes or so, when the movie essentially stopped and Hutz's band, Gogol Bordello, took over. If Filth and Wisdom helps the band?s profile, I?m all for it. I?m just not, you know, all for it.
—Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune
Madonna and movies have never been a good combo. And judging by her debut as a director and screenwriter (with Dan Cadan), I have to say her record is clean.
—Peter Travers Rolling Stone
...thoroughly inept in just about every aspect.
—Lou Lumenick New York Post