With buttery panoramic imagery and free range cinematography, the Australian drama Mad Bastards is a raw but frequently poetic look at the lives, in a matter of speaking, of the Aboriginal actors who portray them.
Brendan Fletcher’s movie is stuffed with moody, arid images that attempt to show the staid, implacable realities of the way of life the “mad bastards” of the title face.
TJ (Dean Daley-Jones) is a one-time con-man who seeks reunion with his teenage son Bullet, perhaps in an attempt to preempt Bullet making the same mistakes that he’s made in the past.
In the meantime, TJ’s policeman father is attempting to do the same thing with the other men like themselves, on a much larger scale.
Fletcher juggles the struggles of three generations with compelling results, but the movie doesn’t quite manage to overcome its inherent flaw: the fact that the landscapes are so overpowering and attractive, their dusty beauty fails to read as oppressive or dead-end.
But hey, that’s a pretty decent trade-off, right? (Theater 4, 9:30 p.m.)
Other Highlights: Wednesday, April 20
Minnesota Shorts: Emerging Filmmakers 1, where new and as-yet mostly unknown local filmmakers are given the spotlight. Topics include the battle of the sexes, the potential loss of a historic theater and a haunting melody. (Theater 4; 6:30 p.m.)
Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil, in which the Texas Chainsaw Massacre archetype gets amusingly flipped on its head. Here, it’s the city folk who give bumpkins the fear. (Theater 4; 6:30 p.m.)