Excerpt: Jacky Vanmarsenille (Matthias Schoenaerts) is part of a group of illegal hormone pushers, criminals who inject cows with super enhancement steroids to pump them up, thus making more money per pound. A devastating moment in Jacky's childhood has haunted him all these years, and it's one of the reasons he's become a raging steroid user; doping up his body on narcotics which are only meant only for the animals he works with.
Conclusion: Bullhead is definitely not the feel-good-movie of year, but it’s a phenomenal character study of a man who got a raw deal in life. Yes, he’s a bad man, but would he be a bad man if he wasn’t a victim of circumstance? That’s left for the viewer to decide. It’s a great film, but it isn’t one of those that you will go back to to revisit anytime soon due to the heavy subject matter.
Conclusion: For all of its elements of criminal activity and law enforcement, Bullhead remains a character drama. If you're one of those people who routinely complained during the later seasons of The Sopranos that not enough was happening in each episode, then this probably isn't your kind of film. Roskam is primarily interested in what happens inside people's heads and (dare I say it?) souls.
Conclusion: 'Bullhead' is a deeply engrossing film. A movie that will lurk around in your head long after you see it. It's certainly an effective film, one which will affect the way you think and feel while you're watching it. Matthias Schoenaerts is a force on screen in terms of sheer physical size, but also in regard to his innate acting ability. It takes skill to play a brute like Jacky, who seems so physically strong, but inside is so emotionally damaged and vulnerable.
Summary: Bullhead is periodically a grim and challenging film but don’t let that dissuade you from seeking it out. The movie shows some great storytelling skills from director Roskam and really benefits from some great camerawork and completely believable performances. Drafthouse Films have done a bang up job on the Blu-ray disc, loading the film with extras and offering it up in excellent quality.
Excerpt: The trailers for Bullhead , Flemish writer/director Michael R. Roskam's debut feature (and a nominee for Best Foreign Film at this year's Oscars), place its thriller angle center stage--it dwells in the murky "hormone mafia underworld" (direct quote), in which livestock are illegally juiced by farmers and meat magnates to get bigger, faster.
Excerpt: As with most modern gangster pictures, the plot of the Belgian import Bullhead involves illegal drugs, though Michaël R. Roskam’s low-boil thriller (an Oscar nominee this year for Best Foreign Language Film) isn’t about pot or coke or meth. It’s about “the hormone mafia,” a Flemish criminal consortium that supplies big commercial cattle ranchers with shots that bring cows to full maturity in eight weeks instead of 10.
Conclusion: Made before Rust And Bone but timed to capitalise on Schoenaerts' new-found profile among English speaking audiences, Bullhead more than deserves its run at the big screen. So does its star.