Even though the film doesn't work that well as a crime drama, it certainly does as a character study. Which brings me to Matthias Schoenaerts. He's quickly turning in one of my favorite actors working right now. The impresive physicality of his character covers the emotionally troubled man trying to deal with a traumatic event from his childhood. I found his work here very heartbreaking, very sincere.
Great plot, something I miss in most movies now that have atmospheric shots for nothing. Everything in this movie moves the story forward revealing more details about characters and motivation - nothing overdone and cathartic too. Matthias Schoenaerts is scary, haven't seen an actor this masculine ever.
A remarkable performance from Schoenaerts and some visual flourishes aside, there's little denying that this disorderly excursion into the depths of the male psyche is a far too drawn-out and meandering affair. Bullhead's dossier into masculinity is a gristly and volatile experience that evokes a concoction of disgust, confusion and awe, but it also arguably outstays its welcome.
A powerful, powerful film. Using a typical crime movie setup it tells an untypical, dark-and-tragic character study of a man that can't escape his past. Schoenaerts gives an explosive and emotional, physical performance, making his cruel and brutal character a sympathetic human. The story slowly peels its layers away-- with well-placed flashbacks-- until the ending, that's inevitable, but that makes it even sadder.
Powerful, powerful stuff. It takes a bit to pick up, but once you're confronted with Jacky's past, oh man... after that, the story progresses perfectly. Terrific acting by the lead actor. Amazing close ups that make us feel Jacky's pain even more intensely.
The melodramatic ending notwithstanding this is quite an impressive bit of filmmaking. A spellbinding multi-generational rural epos that has a lot (too much?) on its mind, there's quite a lot to dissect upon a first viewing. I kind of wish the organized crime angle would have been dropped as it becomes more and more distracting. It's there for thematic reasons but the character work is fascinating on its own.
It was one of the pleasant surprises at the Berlinale 2011. A drama with, would you believe it, well justified flashbacks, Belgian humor and a revelation of meaty hormonal health crimes in good ol' regulated Europe. Not everyone's cup of tea I suppose, but some like them with strong flavors.