Bastards ★★★★

Plays like a relentless unending nightmare and reminiscent of Carax's Pola X to me in that regard. Denis's trademark sensuality gets twisted in this one into something menacing and ugly. She already had some of that in White Material but here every gesture (a passionate kiss, a man fixing a child's bicycle, a brother holding his sister's hand) feels ominous and seems to portend something terrible. Atmospherically, its stunning.. the ghoulish Tindersticks score accompanying these dark shadowy images shot in the rain. And the elliptical editing works really well both in terms of implicating nearly everyone (except the children) and in warning us that what we are heading towards is a glimpse into the very heart of darkness. It's an angry indignant film and the Q&A with Denis confirms that. Watching it was a really strong and memorable experience and it contains some of the most unforgettable images from any film I've seen this year and yet it falls a little short of absolutely greatness for me. It just feels far too simplistic (thematically) for Denis.

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