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 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 film is so drenched in sweaty machismo that I found it hard to grab hold of anything, but Schoenaerts was scarily good.
Watched this as one of our sneaks - it had spent a loooong time in G's watchlist and she finally decided to pick it for her sneak.
It was an amazing and powerful movie. Incredibly intense, a compelling story and unbelieavable acting by the main actor. When I saw pictures of him afterwards, looking his normal self I could hardly believe that this was the same guy.
Of course it's not easy to watch as it is a pretty heavy topic, but putting the effort in is definitely worth it. I had to think about it several times today.
Exceptionally brooding and dark thriller about a cow farmer who's family deal in illegal hormone therapy, who is left emasculated after a traumatic childhood event and finds himself addicted to steroids. However a murdered cop brings attention to the ring of illegal activity as his childhood comes back to haunt, provoking him to relapse, questioning the trust of those around him and his own masculinity.
As a thriller, it's decent, vauge on details, but the hormones add a twist that's not usually seen in these types of films. However the film develops more into a character study of this man left shattered, with an inability to move on in his life, and denied the chance of a future. It's more than a harrowing display of lonliness, but of a man who has fallen into full on despair, unable to come to terms with his loss of gender almost.
"Sometimes in a man's life stuff happens that makes everyone go quiet. So quiet that no one even dares talk about it. Not to anyone, not even to themselves. Not in their head and not out loud. Not a fucking word. Cos' everything has somehow got stuck. There, deep in the fields, under the trees and the leaves, year after year. Then, suddenly it all comes back. Just like that, from one day to the next. No matter how long ago it was, there will always be someone to bring it all back. Because no matter what you do or think, one thing is for sure. You're always fucked. Now, tomorrow, next week or next year, until the end of time. Fucked."
Horrid past for Jacky. Who the hell came up with that. Horrible life is well played. Hold onto your nuts for flashbacks.
"Wa hem k a gezei man, ge kept a baande in nen baandeweinkel!"
Belgian dialect 10/10
No idea why my mom made us watch this with the whole family. Not in any way entertaining for young kids (maybe also not for adults?)
A very powerful and emotional performance by Matthias Schoenaerts whose acting is highly based on the non verbal language. Highly recommended.
While flawed by script issues, an often terrible pacing and a certain lack of focus (too many secondary story lines and characters that go nowhere and add nothing), it's a film that stays with you for a while.
Other than featuring one of the most (unexpectedly) disturbing scenes I've seen in quite a long time, its core argument on manhood and masculinity is actually very interesting and well handled. However, it's Matthias's performance, with his imposing physicality and his constant shifting of emotions that sells the film, that really couldn't have worked with any other actor.
Overall, and despite its Oscar nomination, it feels like a missed opportunity, an interesting story dispersed among truly uninteresting and dragging side-plots.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!