Mad Bastards

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Mad Bastards
Theatrical film poster
Directed byBrendan Fletcher
Written byBrendan Fletcher
Produced byBrendan Fletcher
David Jowsey
Alan Pigram
Stephen Pigram
StarringDean Daley-Jones
Lucas Yeeda
Greg Tait
CinematographyAllan Collins
Edited byClaire Fletcher
Music byAlan Pigram
Stephen Pigram
Alex Lloyd
Release date
  • 26 January 2011 (2011-01-26) (Sundance)
Running time
94 minutes
Budget$3.2 million[1]
Box office$203,598 (Australia)[1]

Mad Bastards is a 2011 Australian drama film written and directed by Brendan Fletcher.[2] Set in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, the film uses mainly local Aboriginal people in the cast, and draws on their stories for the plotline.[3] It is Fletcher's debut film and it premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.[4]


Years ago, TJ abandoned his wife and son, and as time passes his conscience tells him it is time to face up to his responsibilities as a father. TJ is an Aboriginal man living in Western Australia and has a weakness for alcohol and a habit of getting into fights. TJ's son Bullet is nearly as troubled as he is - at the age of 13, he has already been arrested for arson, and instead of serving a sentence in a juvenile detention home, he is released to the custody of Elders. Bullet is not eager to reacquaint himself with TJ, but both realise they need to settle their scores with one another, and Bullet's grandfather Texas steps in to help.



Director and scriptwriter Brendan Fletcher, usually based in Sydney, wrote the film in collaboration with the lead actors, who were local Indigenous people, and John Watson, an elder of the Jarlmadangah people. The storyline was developed from the true stories of local Indigenous people of the Kimberley region in Western Australia, where the film was shot.[3]

Greg Tait, a Gidja man was a reformed young offender who became a policeman, was given a leading role.[3]

The film was co-produced by musician brothers Alan Pigram and Stephen Pigram, who also provided an original score and performed in the film, along with David Jowsey and Fletcher. Ngaire Pigram, Stephen's daughter, played the female lead role.[3]


Mad Bastards received positive reviews from critics and audiences, earning an approval rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. Michelle Orange of SBS gave the film three stars out of five. She observed that the "over-reliance on score sets up an avoidant rhythm that begins to feel like a lack of narrative confidence." However she also points out that "Fletcher’s atmospheric approach is not without moments of emotional power, and the raw, unyielding landscapes of Northwestern Australia are framed to resonant effect."[5]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Subject Result
AFI Members' Choice Award Brendan Fletcher, David Jowsey, Alan Pigram, Stephen Pigram Nominated
Best Film Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Brendan Fletcher Nominated
Best Young Actor Lucas Yeeda Nominated
Best Sound Phil Judd Nominated
Nick Emond Nominated
Johanna Emond Nominated
ADG Award Best Direction in a Feature Film Brendan Fletcher Nominated
AFCA Award Best Director Nominated
APRA Music Award Feature Film Score of the Year Nominated
Alan Pigram Nominated
Stephen Pigram Nominated
ASE Award Best Editing in a Feature Film Claire Fletcher Nominated
ASSG Award Best Achievement in Sound for Film Sound Recording Nick Emond Won
Inside Film Awards Independent Spirit Award Brendan Fletcher, David Jowsey, Alan Pigram, Stephen Pigram Won
Sundance Film Festival
Grand Jury Prize Brendan Fletcher Nominated


  1. ^ a b Sam Dallas, "Box Office: Insidious posts modest opening", If Magazine 17 May 2011 Archived 24 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine accessed 24 May 2014
  2. ^ Smith, Ian Hayden (2012). International Film Guide 2012. p. 65. ISBN 978-1908215017.
  3. ^ a b c d The West Australian (14 January 2011). "Bright lights beckon Kimberley's Mad Bastards". The West Australian. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  4. ^ "Debuting Director Brendan Fletcher's Mad Bastards Shapes Textured Relationships Within a Vividly Drawn Milieu". Hollywood Reporter. 27 January 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  5. ^ Orange, Michelle. "Mad Bastards (review)". SBS. Retrieved 14 February 2013.

External links[edit]