Mad, bad and beau­ti­ful

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH

IN Mad Bas­tards, a fa­ther’s search for the son he has not known be­comes a longdis­tance trek to­wards the roots of in­dige­nous life in Out­back Aus­tralia.

The time has come for mid­dle-aged bruiser TJ ( Dean Da­ley-Jones, pic­tured) to leave the big smoke of Perth once and for all. The end­less drink­ing, fight­ing and scrap­ing for a liv­ing is get­ting be­yond him, and he knows it.

Re­demp­tion comes to mind via some­one who has not al­ways been in TJ’s thoughts: his 13-year-old boy Bul­let ( Lu­cas Yeeda), who lives with his mum ( Ngaire Pi­gram) in a small com­mu­nity near Broome.

So be­gins an ad­ven­tur­ous road trip deep into the Kim­ber­leys, where ev­ery­one TJ meets has a story to tell, and their own unique way of re­lat­ing it to him.

The tone of Mad Bas­tards is no­tice­ably un­cer­tain, with the bleak, down­cast mood shared by sev­eral fea­tured char­ac­ters some­what at odds with sev­eral up­beat mu­si­cal in­ter­ludes.

There are pe­ri­ods of the film where Di­rec­tor Bren­dan Fletcher leans too heav­ily on his hand-picked sound­track and the main plot is all but for­got­ten.

Thank­fully, a re­sound­ing em­pha­sis on au­then­tic­ity and an in­fec­tiously mo­ti­vated cast of am­a­teurs carry this heart­felt drama across the line.

The film also leaves you wish­ing more pro­duc­tions were shot in the north­west of West­ern Aus­tralia, home to land­scapes and light of rare cin­e­matic qual­ity.

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