Customer Review

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and intense Belgian drama, February 26, 2012
This review is from: Bullhead (+ Digital Copy) (DVD)
"Bullhead" (2011 release from Belgium; 128 min.) brings the story of Jacky Vanmarsenille who raises cattle on his family farm in Flanders, Belgium (close to the language border with French-speaking Wallonia). The movie begins with Jacky becoming involved with the so-called "hormone maffia". Soon thereafter we get a second parallel story line into the movie, which starts off with some traumatic events for Jacky taking place 20 years ago when he was 12-13 years old and which cause Jacky to have trouble developing relationships with women. The first hour of the movie edvelops rather slowly, developing the characters and bringing context to the overall movie, but it sets the stage for a very intense second hour of the movie, in which it all comes together. I wish I could say more of the plot line but it really would spoil some of the surprises in the movie, so you'll just have to trust me when I say that you will be at the edge of your seat as the movie goes down to its conclusion.

Several thoughts and comments: (1) Matthias Schoenaerts does an incredible job in the title role of the movie. A very physical presence and performance. (2) Even though this is a "Flemish" movie, about one-third of the movie actually takes place in and around French-speaking Liege. I mention this as the contrast between Flanders and Wallonia is an important element of the movie. (3) This movie is not for the faint of heart: there are a number of violent and bloody scenes thoughout the movie. (4) If you can handle the violence and brutality, you are in for a treat as this movie is very well done, showing once again that you don't need $250 million (the reported budget of the upcoming Disney movie "John Carter") to produce an engaging and entertaining (if rough and tough) movie.

Last but not least, I am a native Belgian (although now a long-time resident of the US) and I couldn't help but feel some pride to see that a "little" country like Belgium can produce such a quality movie once in a while. The movie is nominated for Best Foreign Film Oscar, and I guess I'll find out later tonight if it won. No, this movie is not for everyone, but if you do like foreign and indie movies, I can assure you that you'll appreciate and enjoy "Bullhead". Highly recommended!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 4, 2012 8:30:05 PM PST
Paul Allaer says:
The movie did not win the Oscar for best foreign movie (as expected, Iran's "A Seperation" won), but no matter. This is a great movie, and just a tremendous achievement and recognition to be nominated in the first place.

Posted on Apr 5, 2013 8:44:30 PM PDT
R. Gawlitta says:
I agree. Good review of an excellent movie. Glad it got the Oscar recognition, otherwise I may not have seen it. Sorry, "A Separation" was better, if only because there was never a dull moment.
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3.9 out of 5 stars (41 customer reviews)
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Paul Allaer
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Location: Cincinnati

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