Monday, 24 September 2012

Los Bastardos.

Two none actors play the parts of Jesus and Fausto.

The basis of Spanish director Amat Escalante’a tense and uncomfortable 2008 movie Los Bastardos is the mistreatment of immigrant workers in the United States. The film opens with a very long shot of two men walking along a man made dry river bed, the type that’s used for flood relief. It transpires that these two men are to join a group of other Mexican workers waiting at a busy Los Angeles intersection where employers come to pick up cheap illegal labour to carry out manual work with no questions asked. We follow the two Mexicans we first see, one appears much younger than the other they could almost be father and son. With four other workers they are transported to a new build site to clear rubbish and dig out the foundations for a minimal rate of pay. During this period we learn that the older of the two, Jesus (Jesus Moises Rodrigues) is trying to raise money to enable his elderly Aunt to have an urgent eye operation that will save her sight. Even with the help of his colleague Fausto (Ruben Sosa) he soon realises that the daily manual labour they provide will not raise the required sum of money. There only hope is to except a lucrative offer from a man who requires the contract killing of his wife!  Handed a holdall that contains the money and a sawn-off shotgun they set off to find the address they have been given, but the question is will these two characters have the balls to carry out their murderous mission?

Karen with her unresponsive son.
Its never explained why the husband wants his wife Karen (Nina Zavarin Requiem for a Dream 2000) killed although when we meet her we realise that she does has problems of her own including an unresponsive teenage son and a drug habit. Slow and precise with long shots that add to the tension, the director makes a lot from nothing but when something does happen it will arouse you from your comfort zone. A sort of Mexican Funny Games (1997, 2007) co-produced by Carlos Reygades who directed the another great Mexican drama Battle in Heaven (2005)

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