Movie Blog MSPIFF Spotlight: ‘Mad Bastards’

By Eric Henderson, WCCO

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

2011 msp film festival logo Movie Blog MSPIFF Spotlight: Mad Bastards

(credit: The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul)

Page One, a year in the life and times of the nation’s most high-stature daily newspaper. Full review here. (Theater 4; 6:30 p.m.)

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.)


For the complete festival schedule, click here. An alphabetical listing of all the movies being shown can be found here. Ticket information is here.

More from Eric Henderson
  • Sue Clayton

    I saw this film at the Perth (West Australia) premier on 20th April and I must say it’s the most realistic film I’ve seen for many years. It shows how men react when confronted by their own demons, their own denial about themselves. Not only Indigenous men but men from all walks of life. It also shows the truth about Mothers who are lost in their fantasies and forget they have impressionable children to raise. It also shows how young people grow up emulating the adults in their lives. Yes, the scenery is absolutely beautiful, it’s West Australia and sacred land to many Indigenous people. The music score is fabulous and performed by local entertainer/songwriters from the area which the film is made. It definately shows the TRUTH and REALITY of human struggles with no frills or cover ups. It’s raw, and extremely rare to see the truth on the big screen these days. Kudos and accolades to ALL involved in bringing this film to public attention. If you feel that it doesn’t live up to ‘movie expectations’ maybe you need to look at the reasons why, within yourself.

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