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‘Bastards’ is a moody, slow-burning noir with a surprising series of events that will leave a mark on you.
on 22 May 2014
A man lies dead, a young woman walks the streets at night, dazed and naked. The opening scene of Claire Denis’ new film ‘Bastards’ shows fragments of something terrible thats taken place, but we don’t know what. The young womans name is Justine (Lola Créton), her mother Sandra (Julie Bataille) learns of her tragedy and the dead man who is her husband and Justine’s father.
Sandra seems to have given up hope, or simply doesn’t care. Its not until Sandra’s brother Marco (Vincent Lindon) is called to return from his job as a captain of a ship, that things start to unravel. Marco seems to be the only one compelled to find out what happened to Justine and her father, who was Marco’s best friend. Sandra is of little help, Marco doesn’t quite trust her, and maybe never had. She tells him who she thinks is responsible, Marco drops everything to piece back together a disturbing picture of family life.
‘Bastards’ is a moody, slow-burning noir with a surprising series of events that will leave a mark on you. Marco’s affair with Raphaelle (Chiara Mastroianni) provides the film with its emotional heart. But everyone is numb and lonely, seemingly unable to express themselves, or simply afraid to. ‘Bastards’ uses a strange emotional state, darkness pervades in everyone who are all closely shot but you still can’t get close to them. Somethings holding them all back, and the protagonists of the crimes do not need to lift a finger.
‘Bastards’ isn’t a bleak film, theres still enough tenderness and thoughtfulness in the characters to imbue the film with a humane presence. It still keeps you at a distance, the ending is a shocking conclusion to a fine film, perfectly pivoted by a wonderful song from the Tindersticks. You may not like the ending, but i think this was the point from Denis, in what is her finest film yet.