Review: ‘Bastards’

Even experienced filmmakers can make amateurish pics using new technology. An intriguing DV concept goes awry as "Margaret's Museum" helmer Mort Ransen acts -- from the camera's p.o.v. -- as a cranky old-timer caught up in grassroots upheavals of today. Repetitive format and stiff thesping, however, leave this exercise unsellable.

Even experienced filmmakers can make amateurish pics using new technology. An intriguing DV concept goes awry as “Margaret’s Museum” helmer Mort Ransen acts — from the camera’s p.o.v. — as a cranky old-timer caught up in grassroots upheavals of today. Repetitive format and stiff thesping, however, leave this exercise unsellable.

Main conceit of “Bastards” is to see everything through eyes of Ransen, acting as his own lens operator as he plays a hermit-like architect. (Ransen isn’t seen on screen until the final shot.) Into his cloistered Northwest retreat (helmer’s own home on Salt Spring Island) drops a twentysomething tree-hugger who wants to stop local logging. For some reason, the foul-mouthed girl (Liisa Repo-Martell, usually good but not here) sticks around and even climbs into his bed — a development which he doth protest too much. He forms a strange, even creepy, attachment to this angry, illiterate creature even after she brings a more compliant young stud into the nest. Attempt to integrate World Trade Organization and ecological news footage into mix gives grit, but too little too late. Tech credits are dodgy with title, shouted at pic’s end,

Bastards

Canada

Production

A RanFilms (Vancouver) production, with the support of Telefilm Canada, British Columbia Film, Rogers Telefilm, with assistance from the Movie Network. Produced directed, written, edited by Mort Ransen.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Martin Duckworth; production designer, Nbart Terweil; costume designer, Kate Bragg. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival (Canadian Images), Oct. 3, 2003. Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Liisa Repo-Martell, Mort Ransen, Tygh Runyan.
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