Bastards of Soul Image

Bastards of Soul

By Sabina Dana Plasse | March 7, 2024

SUN VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL 2024 REVIEW! There’s a reason that music has genres, and when it comes to soul, there’s no better category that offers an insight into life on a level that everyone can understand than soul. For his documentary directorial debut, Paul Levatino presents The Bastards of Soul, where a band, music, and people reveal the importance of the soul in life and provide a soul for living.

Bastards of Soul was on the brink of global fame. As a Dallas, Texas, band, they were a tight group and loved to play their music their way, and it worked. However, an unforeseen turn of life had another plan for the Bastards of Soul, with the loss of its frontman and lead singer, Chadwick Murray. Unbeknown to him, Chadwick Murray, a mega talent in the making, who offstage was a sweet, loveable man and husband, loyal band member, and soon-to-be-father, would fall ill and succumb to a rare respiratory illness at 45 in 2021.

Levatino offers Bastards of Soul as a tribute to Murray and the remaining members of the Bastards of Soul in one of the band’s last recording sessions. The band’s dedication to analog recording in a north Dallas, Texas studio is filmed in beautiful style and production, showing how artistic ability and belief come together through music and collaboration. Through insightful and close-connected interviews, those near to the band and Chadwick and his wife Hannah build a beautiful remembrance and introspection into Chadwick’s life and soul music as a vehicle for understanding one’s purpose.

“…a tribute to Murray and the remaining members of the Bastards of Soul in one of the band’s last recording sessions.”

From the stage to the recording sessions and beyond, you meet the players and their commitment to their artistic intentions. Never straying from a commitment to soul philosophy, the band Bastards of Soul and the recording producer made the documentary Bastards of Soul for the archives, and we should be ever grateful for this. Although Bastards of Soul is an artist’s film, particularly for musicians of all levels and practices, the story of Chadwick Murray also adds to your life to understand how precious time on earth may be. It’s a personal documentary for Levatino and the Bastards of Soul, but it is also a gift to an audience just to be connected as Bastards of Soul lingers long beyond the screen.

Bassist Danny Balis, keyboardist Chad Stockslager, guitarist Chris Holt, drummer Matt Trimble, and lead singer Chadwick Murray, as well as others, invite the camera to capture their process of creation, allowing Bastards of Soul to breathe as a film, where time is given to understand a band and its journey not knowing these recordings would be their final days. Through intimate documentary filming, energetic on-stage camera work, and a keen sense of audio, Bastards of Soul is a tight, well-edited, produced, and honest film. Although Bastards of Soul was able to release three albums, it’s a sobering thought to know that so much more would have come.

Bastards of Soul screened at the 2024 Sun Valley Film Festival.

Bastards of Soul (2024)

Directed and Written: Paul Levatino

Starring: Chadwick Murray, Danny Balis, Chad Stockslager, Chris Holt, Matt Trimble, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Bastards of Soul Image

"…a band, music, and people reveal the importance of the soul in life"

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