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Bullhead
BLU-RAY disk
Jul 11, 2012 By: Chris Bumbray
Bullhead order download
Director:
Michael R. Roskam

Actors:
Matthias Schoenaerts

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Jacky Vanmarsenille (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a hulking brute of a man. A cattle rancher by trade, his family has deep connections to the trade of illegal growth hormones in Belgium, which, unbeknownst to him, has made them the target of a police operation. Their chief informer is Jacky's childhood friend, Diederik, with whom he shares a painful secret from the past.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
BULLHEAD is a film that totally threw me for a loop. Having read the plot description last year when it played the Fantasia Film Festival, I thought it sounded like an intriguing, well-made thriller. When I missed it, I was disappointed, but it was only when I saw it listed among the Best Foreign Film nominees at the Oscars that it struck me that BULLHEAD might indeed be something special.

That it most certainly is- as BULLHEAD works simultaneously as a crime thriller/character study thatís unique to the genre. The central premise, of a gang of Flemish cattle ranchers making money off illegal steroids for cattle is in itself something quite different, with the French cops looking to take down this cartel of dealers making a killing off their wildly overgrown cattle. But- thatís not really what BULLHEAD is.

Rather, itís a surprisingly sensitive portrayal of the groupís enforcer- Jacky Vanmarsenille- an overgrown, beast of a man. In the lead, Matthias Schoenaerts is revelatory- with this instantly putting him on the map as one of the brightest new stars in European cinema. Thanks to the growth hormones that he trades in, Jacky has the body of Arnold Schwartzenegger, but the soul of a twelve-year-old boy, thanks to a childhood accident that left him physically, and emotionally devastated- constantly questioning his own masculinity, and severely impacted his relations with the opposite sex. Its here that BULLHEAD really excels, leading to a devastating climax thatís hard to shake.
THE EXTRAS
Overall, a pretty loaded Blu-ray, with a commentary track by director Michael R. Roskam- who does the track in english. Following this is The Making of BULLHEAD which is subtitled- and runs under half hour, followed by seperate interviews with Roskam and Schoenaerts.

Most intriguing is a 25-minute short film that Roskam & Schoenaerts worked on several years ago- which is a good watch on it's own. Also included is the trailer and a digital copy .
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I have to say, as much as I liked the eventual Best Foreign Film winner- BULLHEAD is the film that, for me anyways, should have taken home the prize. Itís truly a great piece of work, and one that demands a significant amount of attention now that itís hit Blu-ray.
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