Bastard

Areasonable idea for a Hungarian thriller is wasted in "Bastard" thanks to sloppy scripting and scrappy direction from veteran Ferenc Andras. Resulting mess shows just how difficult it is for many Euro filmmakers to emulate Yank genre product.

Areasonable idea for a Hungarian thriller is wasted in “Bastard” thanks to sloppy scripting and scrappy direction from veteran Ferenc Andras. Resulting mess shows just how difficult it is for many Euro filmmakers to emulate Yank genre product.

Gyorgy Cserhalmi is the rugged hero, Felician, who receives a message from his dying mother asking him to return a Bible to an old friend. But the friend is missing, and the search takes Felician to a small village where everything is run by a smooth Mafia type, Geza (Polish actor Daniel Olbrychski in a routine assignment), and where there’s also a mysterious hospital run by sinister members of a religious cult.

After battling with Geza’s bodyguards and being captured by the phony priest who runs the cult, Felician simply disappears for a long stretch, leaving his intrepid 13-year-old daughter to carry the drama along in some Pearl White cliffhanger sequences.

By this time, though, the film has degenerated into an utterly unconvincing and almost comical exercise in mayhem. For an experienced director, Andras shows a very uncertain hand; in several scenes, minor characters just stand around as if waiting to be told what to do. Pic notably lacks the punch and dynamism of even the most average Yank thriller.

Bastard

(HUNGARIAN-GERMAN-POLISH)

Production: A Dialog Filmstudio (Budapest)/TransFilm (Berlin)/Dom Filmowe (Warsaw) co-production, with the support of Eurimages. Produced by Ferenc Andras, Albert Kitzler, Filip Bajon. Directed by Ferenc Andras. Screenplay, Andras, Miklos Munkacsi. Camera (color), Balasz Sara; editor, Hajnal Sello; music, Istvan Martha; production design, Sandor Kallay; costume design, Janos Breckl; sound (Dolby), Gyorgy Kovacs; co-producer, Sandor Soth; assistant director, Istvan Albrecht. Reviewed at Hungarian Film Week, Budapest, Feb. 8, 1995. Running time: 106 MIN.

With: With: Gyorgy Cserhalmi, Ildiko Toth, Ferenc Bacs, Daniel Olbrychski, Robert Koltai, Eva Igo.

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