By William Wolf

NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 2013--BASTARDS  Send This Review to a Friend

Showcased at the 2013 New York Film Festival, “Bastards,” directed by the talented French filmmaker Claire Denis, is a moody tale resembling film noir. Denis wrote the screenplay with Jean-Pol Fargeau and chose charismatic cast members whom an audience can admire without necessarily liking their characters.

Vincent Lindon plays Marco, a seaman, who responds to a call by his sister, whose husband has died, whose daughter has been injured and who is in dire financial need. Marco is soon involved in a mysterious situation as he pursues vengeance against the man whom he judges responsible for all that has happened.

Marco moves into an apartment in the building where the beautiful, sensual Raphaëlle, played by Chiara Mastroianni, lives, She is the mistress of Edouard Laporte, a wealthy older man (Michel Subor), the villain against whom Marco wants revenge. Laporte has also been involved in abusive sex games with Marco’s niece.

It doesn’t take long for Marco and Raphaëlle to engage in hot sex. I always enjoy watching Mastroianni, because she so resembles her late father Marcello and keeps conjuring up memories. She is striking looking in her own right and has become an excellent actress. When she discovers what Marco is up to as he awaits an opportunity to kill Laporte, she will have to choose between them.

Denis’s skill commands our attention as the story builds, but the unsavory characters and obnoxious situation leave an empty feeling when the mess is over. A well-made film, yes, but not a very appealing one. A Sundance Selects release. Reviewed October 23, 2013.


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