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Juan Carlos Colombo,
A 24 hour period in the lives of Fausto and Jesus, two undocumented Mexican day-laborers in L.A. Each day another task, each day the same pressure to find money. They go about their daily routine, standing on the corner at the Home Improvement Store waiting for work to come. Today, the job they are given is well paid compared to their poor usual wages. Today, Jesus carries a shotgun inside his backpack. Written by
Los Bastardos offers a sharp view of some of the realities of America and its "lower class citizens". Director/writer Amat Escalante certainly has things to say but unfortunately, his narrative is stretched and the pace becomes contemplative and somewhat aimless.
We sense a lot of sincerity in the movie, particularly the first half as we follow Jesús and Fausto and their lives as illegal workers. But even then, the viewer will have to sustain interest throughout long, static scenes and few lines of scripts. Most of the actors seem to somewhat improvise their lines, adding to a sense of documentary. There's no sense that these are Oscar-material actors but rather real people, which breathes a sense of reality.
What was already an overly stretched movie takes a turn for the worse in the second half, where the slow pace halts to a crawl. Most people will have already mentioned the famous "shocking scene", which I do not find that shocking, just gruesome. You get the feeling much of the interest/acclaim for this film was drawn from that scene which I find unfortunate.
Amat Escalante is a name to remember for the sincerity put in this movie, the visceral nature of this work but I can't help but think he's a better director than writer and that shooting other people's script might be the way to go for him.
Los Bastardos may be worthwhile if the synopsis drew your interest and if you are an attentive viewers but do not expect a masterpiece. This is a below average movie that needed a more fleshed out story.
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