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4.4 out of 5 stars
32
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 11 August 2015
A powerful drama drwan by fate, a fate that is not just methaphysical but is rooted in the social context, in the environment, in the human dynamics that often impact people and children, especially when it comes to violence and thirst for power (here it shows that even kids can be cruel). I liked it because I suddenly forget it is set in central europe, in a not fascinating environment, and I loved watchin it in original language. It's not famou but for its Oscar nomination and so is not its director either. But I think we are going to hear from him soon....
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on 3 December 2013
One of my new favorite movies of all time! Great story, complex theme, and shocking. The acting is superb, and the camera work near to flawless. I tip my hat to the actors and actresses as well/
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on 26 January 2017
It takes a little while before one is able to see who is who and what they are doing and how characters relate to each other, but when the pieced start to fit together an original story starts to unfold and it is a story that is told very well.

This is a very well made film with great acting from all the cast and great directing, editing etc, but it is the originality of the story and the way that it is told that was particularly noticeable.

Maybe overall I would only give “Bullhead” four stars, but where originality is concerned it would be ten out of ten.

Definitely worth a watch…

On the DVD you get:

“Bullhead” (2 hours 9 minutes)
Chapter’s selection
Extras:
Making Of (21 minutes)
Theatrical Trailer
Set Up: Audio 5.2, 2.0
Optional English Subtitles
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 11 January 2016
This is a dark film about a tortured soul, a man (Jacky) who underwent the most brutal imaginable treatment as a child and whose life has been destroyed, while he tries to keep up appearances by taking steroids sold illegally for cattle. He looms through the frame like a cross between Travis Bickle and King Kong, or perhaps Frankenstein, searching for love, but unable to express himself sexually. However he is more complex than the two 'monsters', being not as gentle as all that. It is part of the skill of Matthias Schoenaerts' performance that you are genuinely torn about his character - you have to feel sympathy, yet he acts in ways that are pretty bad as well. Judgement is in any case impossible after what he went through. The steroids for cattle are run by a mafia type of organisation in Belgium that I had never heard anything about, but presumably exists. A police officer investigating their activities is killed, sparking off a wider inquiry and causing many tensions within this circle, to which Jacky is connected. His childhood friend Diederik has also been scarred by what happened, you feel, perhaps pushing both of them along paths of failure where they might have promised something different. The film gets a handle on this with a certain power. Where it falls over is in presenting certain comic elements, particularly where two French-speaking garage mechanics are concerned who are given a car to dispose of which has incriminating evidence of the murder. It falls into a slightly 'cool' tone at these points that jarred, I thought, but others may welcome the range of tone. Diederik is gay, which more could have been made of, but in some ways it goes down a gangster film path, given an artistic twist, with moody landscape shots in the mist. Schoenaerts is superb and gets the impossible, inarticulate rage and pathos well, but a more consistent style would have been better, and the ability to find a bit more warmth - human interaction seems very cold here, each person locked in themselves, charmless and unknown to others.
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on 19 December 2014
Belgian screenwriter and director Michaël R. Roskam`s feature film debut which he also wrote, is a Belgian production which was produced by Bart Van Langendock. It tells the story about Jacky Vanmarsenille, a cattle farmer from the Sint-Truiden area of Flanders who is part of a mafia that deals with meat and hormones. One day Jacky is contacted by a veterinarian who wants him to make a deal with a notorious West-Flemish beef trader. Jacky agrees, but when he unexpectedly is reunited with his childhood friend Diederik, he is reminded of an incident that has been tormenting him ever since it happened.

Michaël R. Roskam`s finely directed first feature is a character-driven and plot-driven drama that draws an incisive portrayal of a huge Limburgian man who has been marked for life by a terrible occurrence from the past that now confronts him and becomes even more upsetting. This unconventional tale of a Belgian underground crime syndicate that is shaken when a local policeman is killed, contains a wide range of rare characters and is both an atmospheric mystery and an internal study of character about friendship and the afflicting consequences of lost innocence.

Finely photographed by cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis, this at times humerous, violent and well-paced thriller is reinforced by Matthias Schoenaerts` riveting acting performance in the leading role and the good supporting acting performances. An unsettling and engagingly narrated independent film which gained a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards in 2012.
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on 2 April 2017
Storytelling is very difficult and you need a clear pdth to your desired result. This was to erratic and I felt never achieved. Jacky had an horrendous beating and his best friend failed him. I tell you now no boy would ever get over this never ever. If it was me I would have to kill the monster who did this to me
So this film was never going to be believed right from the start The tale was all wrong and the true horror glossed over by utter rubbish to the real story
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Bullhead is a violent, visceral and emotionally gruelling experience. It's not your average multiplex flick, and instead weaves a complex narrative about friendship, unrequited love and desire for simple fulfilment into a plot which veers between art-house and punch-drunk brutal. If you're familiar with the Pusher Trilogy [DVD] or TV's braquo (Braquo Season 1 & 2 [DVD]) then you'll be on familiar territory.

Moments of extreme ferocity are underscored with still frames of Flemish countryside, a bleak and beautiful backdrop to a tale in which a man's soul unravels in spectacular style. At one moment Jacky, the film's stunning central character, is a belligerent, intimidating beast of a bulked-up bodybuilder. The next, he's a fragile man-child, seeking redemption and a meaningful role in his life. It's a brilliant piece of acting in a well-constructed role.
Bullhead's obvious plot follows an unusual thriller theme, about the 'meat mafia' who trade in beef which has been illegally boosted by growth hormones. There are cops, bad guys, hapless mechanics who need to hide a stolen car which has been used in a murder; surveillance teams, raids, murder and more, all centred around a bizarre coincidence which places Jacky in the midst of the action. All this provides the catalyst for the real plot, when his traumatic past detonates into his present situation - the ripples eventually achieving tsunami status.
We were completely gripped for over two hours. There are a couple of truly shocking scenes (you'll know when you get to the key moment), balanced by moments of almost serene (or surreal) beauty. The scene where Jacky helps a cow to birth her calf via caesarean section does nothing to advance the plot, but it does everything to reveal his underlying integrity. The bathroom scenes, where he's pumped up on testosterone, steroids and all sorts are jaw-achingly tense.
And who knew how much the Flemish and Walloon hate each other? The moments of cross-border antagonism just added to the exotic - yet entirely credible - flavour of the film. Subtitling was effective without being intrusive.

You'll need to keep your wits about you - but invest some time and attention in Bullhead and it'll reward you.
9/10
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on 28 September 2013
I caught a trailer for the this recently and thought it looked interesting, but to be honest I wasn't expecting much, it turns out I was wrong. This is an excellent film. It's a Belgian film that tells the story of Jacky, a man with a troubled past who is now involved with illegal meat trading (that doesn't sound like much, but it does make for an interesting story). He is always pumped up on steroids and is very violent, in fact it's fair to say that he's not a very likeable character.

It's says a lot for the actor and the story that through the course of the film he gets under your skin. You learn about why he became the way he is. In many ways it's an understated film, a character study of Jacky.

The surrounding cast also do a good job in what is essentially a grim tale, there's some nice visual moments as well, although like the film overall these are done in a subtle, unassuming manner. It's a hard film to pin down, it's a tale of a man and the consequences of his choices, it's not exciting, but it is very interesting and most importantly watchable.
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on 13 August 2013
A film about meat mafia set in Belgium appears an odd plotline for a movie but this is best European film of the last few years, in my opinion. Matthias Schoenaerts' role in Rust and Bone led me to this film and he gives an outstanding performance as the hormone popping Jacky. I will not give too much of the plot away, because part of the joy of this movie is how he became that way.

I am six foot tall and the end made me cry. A beautiful movie and one that I will watch again and again.
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on 2 July 2015
Bullhead is an extremely frustrating film. It sports an incredible performance by Matthias Schoenaerts as a lonely Belgian farmer struggling to cope with an emotionally isolated existence and haunted by an insurmountably troubled past. To say any more would be a total spoiler. As a piece of character drama, this is seriously affecting stuff, made all the more distressing by a truly world-class performance. This would have been enough for a terrific movie.

However, the waters are muddied by various other superfluous plot strands; an investigation into the use of steroids in beef, local gangsters killing cops, low-rent hoodlums selling stolen tyres, a gay police informant who also happens to be a long-lost childhood friend, and a slightly implausible love interest. While any of these ideas may have borne fruit in their own movie, the result here is definitely less than the sum of its parts, not least because the aptly sombre tone of the main story is compromised by the intrusion of these other events.

Michaël R. Roskam is definitely a director to watch, and I suspect Bullhead will become an interesting curiosity to visit in the context of a great director taking his first steps. Ultimately, the weakness here is in the writing. Roskam’s next movie was ‘The Drop’ (with Matthias Schoenaerts again awesome in a supporting role), which was adapted from a short story by Dennis Lehane and, for my money, is an infinitely superior movie, largely because it doesn't suffer from the same cluttered over-plotting. Like Anton Corbijn , tone and emotion are clearly Roskam’s forté and I for one am excited to see what he delivers next.

Technical merits for the blu ray are first rate, and the 'making of' piece is watchable, if nothing special.
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