Bullhead [Rundskop]

"Excellent"

Bullhead [Rundskop] Review


Dark and involving, this shocking Belgian drama not only earned an Oscar nomination but propelled its director and leading man into much bigger movies. And deservedly so. With a strikingly internalised approach to a shattering story, writer-director Roskam gets deep under the surface. He also somehow manages to address a seriously important issue without ever getting preachy about it. And while the film focusses on lead actor Schoenaerts, it's absolutely riveting.

Set in Belgium's cattle country, the story centres on Jacky (Schoenaerts), a beefy young guy who runs his family farm and seems to inject as many muscle-building hormones into himself as his cattle. But there's a secret reason for this, dating back two decades to a grisly incident he is suddenly forced to confront when his long-lost childhood friend Diederick (Perceval) turns up to negotiate with a rival gang leader (Louwyck). The doping gangs are nervous about two detectives (Vandenborre and Sarafian) who are investigating the murder of an undercover drug-enforcement agent. And with his memory sparked, Jacky looks up Lucia (Dandoy), a woman from his past.

When Jacky is on-screen we are completely engaged. Schoenaerts plays him as a likeable hulk, fiercely intelligent even though he's uneducated, with a gentle manner that's being undermined by too many hormones. So he sometimes loses his ability to cope, lashing out with horrific violence in ways that worry him as much as us. We could watch him all day, but Roskam has a bigger story to tell, cutting away from Jacky to explore the war between drug gangs, the authorities and the capitalists who insist that long-established farms increase their productivity regardless of whether this means breaking the law.

As the story progresses, Jacky becomes a pawn rather than the protagonist, which is a bit frustrating for us as viewers. But even if it misses a strong emotional kick, the story is intense and gripping, and we yearn for our dangerously flawed hero to find the happy ending that has eluded him all his life. Meanwhile, the actor and filmmaker have both found their happy endings: on the back of this film, Schoenaerts went on to star opposite Marion Cotillard in the acclaimed Rust and Bone and has a series of even bigger roles in the pipeline, while Roskam is now directing Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace in Animal Rescue

Rich Cline



Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Production compaines: Savage Films, Waterland, Waterland Film, Artemis

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Michael R. Roskam

Producer: Bart Van Langendonck

Starring: as Jacky Vanmarsenille, Jeroen Perceval as Diederik Maes, Jeanne Dandoy as Lucia Schepers, as Eva Forrestier, Tibo Vandenborre as Antony De Greef, Frank Lammers as Sam Raymond, Sam Louwyck as Marc Dekuyper, Erico Salamone as Christian Fillippini, Philip Grand'Henri as David Fillippini, Kris Cuppens as Jean Vanmarsenille, Kristof Renson as Stieve Vanmarsenille

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Advertisement
Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.