Bastards

Bastards

DVD - 2014 | French
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Following his brother-in-law's suicide, sea captain Marco goes AWOL to rescue his estranged sister and teenaged niece from a powerful, wealthy businessman, who just so happens to be his lover's husband. But Marco's attempt at heroism is soon thwarted as he delves further into the hellish world his sister has involved herself in, and the deception from those he trusted most.
Publisher: New York : Sundance Selects, c2014
ISBN: 9780788617829
0788617826
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (100 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in

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Byond
Aug 05, 2017

Of films directed by her listed with a rating on RT (10), only one (Trouble Every Day, 2001) ranked lower than this. This one received 66% Tomatometer, 39% audience score. I've rated this low, due to the unpleasantness I felt watching it. There is an article and interview in which Ms. Denis casts some light on all the gloom. http://cinema-scope.com/cinema-scope-online/sanctuary-claire-denis-bastards/ After reading the wiki summary and that piece I revised my rating upward.
'The world of Bastards is cruel, but the film doesn’t feel like it’s being cruel to its characters', this comment by the interviewer is probably true, but the struggle against an ugly world characterizes other work by this director. Again, the interviewer says, 'I felt that the storyteller of Bastards is in love with Marco (the protagonist). The storyteller has a love for everything he represents'. To which Denis replies 'Absolutely. I think I more or less fell in love with most of the characters'.
I don't know whether allowing this darkness in is wise or not. Perhaps it was a good exercise for Denis to work it out.
A final cranky comment. The slipcase for this, under 'sundance selects' imprint puts these words of Manohla Dargis in quotes "Beautiful. Has the tragic undertow of a classic Greek tragedy. The story grips you entirely". That is a mashup of actual words, including 'grimly beautiful and somewhat unhinged' and 'The story grips you entirely even if Ms. Denis’s worldview here finally feels like a tomb: terrifying, pitiless, inevitable'.

voisjoe1 Jun 26, 2014

(not rated – probably NC-17 if the film were to seek a rating) - I see similarities of this art/noir film to the straight/neo-noir film Chinatown in that a citizen’s investigations determine that a powerful individual is involved in perverted sexual activities. One difference of “Bastards” and “Chinatown” is that that the characters in “Bastards” keep their identities and motivations close to the vest so the audience continuously has difficulty with the puzzle. The characters in “Chinatown,” are just a bit more revealing as to what they are doing. If the "Bastards" audience becomes lazy, it will become hopelessly lost in what is going on. In both films, the “bad” guys are so evil that the audience is lulled into the idea that the “good guys” are destined to win. But in life, do the “good guys” always win?

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voisjoe1 Jun 26, 2014

voisjoe1 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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