¡Maldito Bastardo! (2008)
By: Devon B. on June 30, 2009  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
Poster Art
Director: Javi Camino
Starring: Juanillo Esteban, Pilar Miguélez, Tamar Novas
Screenplay: Javi Camino
Country: Spain
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¡Maldito Bastardo! Begins with an old guy telling his grandson a story. Because there's narration, the story is able to jump all over the place, and my God does it ever.

The film is the recollections of an elderly couple to their grandson, who gets less and less tolerant of the bizarre, nonsensical elements to their tale. In the story, a mad doctor is experimenting on people with rabies. When his poorly treated nurse (accidentally?) injects him with the disease, he becomes desperate to find a cure before he starts acting like a certain woman who came from Duluth. The doctor discovers that a cure may lie within a local idiot boy he once examined. The doctor gets the boy to his lab through some simple trickery, but accidentally creates a monster that gets set loose on the countryside. The doctor still isn't cured, so sends an array of creatures to try to get the super-strong boy back. That's the basic plot, but the synopsis on the back will just confuse you, so don't read it.

The film is very low budget, but is generally well put together. Any time it gets incoherent, it's because the story is insane, not because the film's structure is flawed. While the boy, who is really more of a young man, has eyebrows that appear to be made of carpet, the only effect I really found laughable was a killer tree, and that was in fact so laughable I have to assume the filmmakers put it in as an intentional joke. Some of the other villains sent after the carpet eyebrowed boy are a bit simple, like the Swiss Straw Man who is just a guy in some sacks beefed up with padding, but there is also a fairly elaborate robot. It's not entirely convincing because of budget constraints, but still pretty good.

As you may have guessed, ¡Maldito Bastardo! is a crazed film, and this isn't aided by the sometimes odd translations of the subtitles. Or maybe it was just another joke when one character is described as having less memory than an octopussy. The film moves at a fast pace, but is also too manic to really draw the viewer in, and I certainly wasn't sucked in by the annoying fourth wall violations. Some of the humour is very good, like when the grandson starts picking apart plot holes in the story, and most of the jokes are at least interesting if not hilarious. While it might not make everyone laugh, I also found the mysterious Father Bear highly amusing.

The performances vary in quality, with some of the acting being too exaggerated, but I found the woman playing the carpet eyebrowed boy's mother quite entertaining, which was good because she actually has two parts.

¡Maldito Bastardo! is a curious film, and far better than a lot of homegrown efforts, so if you like your films cheap and with a hyperactive story, check it out.
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