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Young Limburg cattle farmer, Jacky Vanmarsenille, is approached by an unscrupulous veterinarian to make a shady deal with a notorious West-Flemish beef trader. But the assassination of a federal policeman, and an unexpected confrontation with a mysterious secret from his past, set in motion a chain of events with far-reaching consequences.
Michaël R. Roskam’s feature debut may have been nominated for an Oscar but I found its story and portentous atmosphere a little hard to swallow. Matthias Schoenaerts stars as Jacky Vanmarsenille, a young farmer who inadvertently gets caught up in the shady dealings of dodgy beef traders and the hormone mafia whilst being haunted by a childhood tragedy that has left him wounded and emasculated.
Whilst the film should be commended for exploring a rather unique subject matter Roskman’s handling of the contrived and messy plot leaves a lot to be desired. Bullhead is part rural noir and part character study as the film slowly reveals the childhood trauma that has shaped the man Jacky has become. He is a…
I like this film so much I bought it...
I have a pretty high tolerance for violence in films, sometimes I actually enjoy it! There's one scene in Bullhead that went too far for me. Because I want to avoid spoilers I can't say much more than it involves a child and it's graphic not only because of what's shown, but because of what's deliberately not shown. I became physically ill and had to stop the film. I came back and finished the rest after I calmed down a bit, and I ended up enjoying it overall, but I'll never be able to get rid of that one scene.
Bullhead is a tough-to-watch but extremely well done gritty crime drama about a cattle farmer named Jacky who seems destined…
What an outstanding performance by Matthias Schoenaerts. It's a good thing too because he carries the picture. At first I thought it was going to be a gangster type film about the hormone drug trade, but it really is about Jacky Vanmarsenille and how a horrible event in his youth has informed every thing about him. He truly is outstanding as an embarrassed, lonely young man who wants what he thinks he can't have. There is nothing off about Schoenaerts portrayal. Every look, every word is authentic. And this actor can say more with his eyes than most.
The ending of the film, with events unfolding to music that gets louder and louder, reminiscent of I Am Love, is dramatic…
Clearly from the neo-Flanders school of Flemish cattle mafia movies, hits all the familiar tropes of the subgenre hahahahaha jk this is the only Flemish cattle mafia movie.
I have to admit that I went into Bullhead unsure what to expect - both content and quality wise. Despite its Oscar nomination, the film carries a ho-hum reputation on Letterboxd and the fact it has never received a release in Australia (cinema or DVD) cemented that fact that perhaps wasn't worth the time.
As it turns out, Bullhead was worth my time. Whilst I can acknowledge the complaints registered against it, its faults are clearly there for all to see, with the film's gripping performance from Schoenaerts, the original world of the "Hormone Mafia" and the atypical sprawling crime drama plot - Bullhead well truly kept me anchored to my…
This perticular scene involving young Jacky Vanmarsenille was almost unbearable. It still hurts..
What a great lead performance of Matthias Schoenaerts. I woud have preferred more of a character study of him but nevertheless Bullhead is a great movie. I also loved the atmosphere and the interesting look into the flemish hormone mafia. Which i didn't know it exists. Overall a very convincing debut of Michaël R. Roskam.
Schoenaerts is the man, man.
Not a masterpiece but a brooding, well constructed piece with a stand out performance from the aforementioned lead.
In Belgium. The young Limburg cattle farmer Jacky Vanmarsenille, is approached by an unscrupulous veterinarian to make a shady deal with a notorious West-Flemish beef trader. But the assassination of a federal policeman, and an unexpected confrontation with a mysterious secret from Jacky's past, set in motion a chain of events with far-reaching consequences. BULLHEAD is an exciting tragedy about fate, lost innocence and friendship, about crime and punishment, but also about conflicting desires and the irreversibility of a man's destiny.
This movie took me by surprise. Knew it had been highly recommended but never actually knew what it was about. So luckily I went in blind. Which might en the best way for most of you to discover it.…
On tubi tv
Never felt so sorry for the lead character like this one since.... I can't even remember.
The Belgian beef mafia...illegal growth hormones...steroids...body building...childhood castration...a dead cop...an informer...two inept mechanics...a 20 years unrequited romance...surveillance...violence. What more do you want from a film? And there are lots of parallels between the squalid lives of the cattle farmers and their cattle. And there is the hulking presence of Matthias Schoenaerts. Yet, nothing is focussed. The scenes don’t come together to be a whole. The scenes never keep their mind on their purpose. All done in a nitty-gritty style that signifies the Real but is irrelevant of purpose.
This is wildly uneven, but it's carried -- and then some -- by excellent camerawork and the sheer intensity of its central performance. Matthias Schoenaerts (who I am falling more and more in love with by the day, apparently) is simultaneously so repugnant and so heartbreaking that it's sometimes difficult to watch him.
Falls into the category of being a non-horror film which is arguably more horrific than the majority of horror films, despite not generally being overtly graphic with what it depicts on screen. Most plot synopses only hint at what the film is actually about, and watching this film without any real notion of what is to come only helps to build the tension of the ongoing situation. Heavily character-based, Schoenaerts strongly carries the weight of the film on his shoulders, crucial given that the film lives or dies based on the quality of his performance. This is an assured feature debut from Roskam, who as writer and director seems uninterested in notions of redemption or hope.
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