Pepe's View:

Mad Bastards is an Australian film in the "tradition" of Samson and Delilah and Ten Canoes.  The film by first time director Brendon Fletcher pays homage to the aboriginal culture and to the real people hidden inside the "Mad Bastards".
Set in the Kimberley region and filmed in glorious widescreen, the film is a visual delight.  The scenery of the Kimberley juxtaposed with the brutality and confusion of the lives of the aboriginal cast living in the town creates a cinematographic experience not easily forgotten.
The director manages to subtly and carefully reveal to us the close attachment the aboriginal people have with their land and how the loss of this connection has caused a lingering feeling of discontent and anger.  When young Bullett, played wonderfully by Lucas Yeede, is sent out to a "reform" school in the bush where he and some others are brought closer to their land and their traditional culture, we see a maturing in him and a realisation that there is a different life to the one he is living.  While Bullett is walking through the Kimberley becoming reacquainted with his heritage, his father whom he has never met is travelling from Perth where his traditional lands have been covered by freeways and buildings to also become reacquainted with the land.  There are beautiful scenes of the characters under the stars and at one not only with themselves but with their world.
TJ, played by Dean Daly-Jones is superb as the brooding volcano who is trying desperately to connect with his family and in particular with his son after a life spent on the margins of white society.  The local policeman (Greg Tait) is totally believable in the role - probably because he spent 16 yrs as a policeman in the area. 
The most amazing aspect of this film is that all the actors are total amateurs.  Not one of them has been to acting school or appeared in a movie before.  Their performances though come from the heart - they are the people they depict.  There is no artifice, just raw emotion and this gives the film a feeling of truth so often lacking in films attempting to tackle similar themes.  It is to the credit of the director that he could extract such truthful performances from this cast.
The music performed often live by the "Pigram Brothers",  real musicians from the Kimberley, is a feature of the film and although not traditional aboriginal music it seems to fit with their modern culture.

This is a fantastic movie in all respects.

My Score:  8.5/10

Ma's View:

Yes indeed, I just loved this movie!  There is no shying away from the very real problem of alcoholism and disconnectedness endemic in Aboriginal society but there is no whinging or blaming either.   Instead, there is a lot of hope in this movie as there was in Samson and Delilah because the real backbone of Aboriginal culture is evident - the magnificent Australian outback and their deep affinity with it.

The title refers to the "mad bastard" withing each character which fills them with anger and violence, often fuelled by alcohol, and resulting in anti-social behaviour.  In contrast, we see tribal elders and leading members of the tribe playing a pivotal role in guiding their people back to their roots.  The gentleness and wisdom of these older Aborigines is inspiring.   The film carries a wonderful message to young indigenous Australians and the Director and the actors should be justly proud of their achievement.  Underpinned by a wonderful musical score from the Pigram Brothers, this movie is a story of redemption that will have a ripple effect throughout the culture.

My Score:  (9/10)

1 comment:

  1. Hi U 2
    It's like David and Margaret without the silly laugh! You see a lot more movies than I do, so it's good to catch up without the nodding off at the theatre embarrassment. Enjoy - and keep up the commentary ... Maureen