Mad, bad and beautiful
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.