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The "Bullet" spoken of in the title is the film's central character, a 35-year-old Brooklyn heroin junkie (Mickey Rourke). The film begins with his release from the pen after serving an eight-year sentence, and then proceeds to closely follow the lives of him and those around him -- the parents, an eccentric little brother, a completely shell-shocked headcase of a big brother (Ted Levine, creating yet another standout psychotic), as well as various players in the substance supply industry (Tupac Shakur makes his last screen appearance as the druglord Tank, and does a decent job in a rather thankless role). I'd summarize the plot more clearly if I could, but the fact is, these people's lives just aren't that simple.
"Bullet" is one of those rare movies which somehow leak through the cracks and make it into production with their soul (or lack thereof) intact. One of the few who dare pay attention to the dregs of society. Worse still, actual dregs of actual modern day society. The REAL dregs. The "uncool" dregs which are far less likely to break out the one-liners after offing someone then they are to strip the corpse of all valuables and sell them for drug money.
"Bullet" wastes no time whatsoever on making it's characters presentable. I admit it, there's no way this film could ever have raked in the cash. On the surface, the majority of scenes depicted in "Bullet" are the furthest thing any decent human being would classify as entertainment. But below this poverty and violence is a complex and intriguing world filled with complex and intriguing characters.
The film's craft cannot be faulted. The direction is superb, the soundtrack appropriate -- at times eerily so -- but even despite all this, most viewers will recoil in disgust at the request to tune into the lives and minds of characters as genuinely vile, violent and emotionally unstable as these. Characters that would instruct packs of ten-year olds in mortal combat. Characters that can no longer see the future beyond their next hit. Characters that assault their own image in the mirror. This is ground most viewers aren't willing to tread, and why this film was doomed to fail commercially. But that by no means makes it bad. Those who can stomach the imagery and see beyond it will not be disappointed... with the *movie*. How you'll feel once it sinks in that these kinds of things happen on a daily basis in what is supposedly the most civilized country on the planet is anyone's guess.
Back to the realism. The family here is so real they feel like they could be neighbors. However there is an added component of the family being Jewish, and honestly, this is the first time I remember seeing a Jewish family being portrayed in middle-class, "street" style (if anyone has suggestions for other examples, email me).
By the time it's over you feel like you know the characters, or that you've met people exactly like them if you've ever lived in a moderate to large sized city. Mickey Rourke as Bullet is great, as usual. It's almost as if this role were made for him. I see him as a tragic, heroic figure, fighting against the demon heroin. His kid brother is Adrien Brody, a talented artist and headed down the same path as his brother if he's not careful. There's the 3rd brother, played by Ted Levine, who isn't quite right after coming back from the war. You will feel affection for this man before the end credits. There's the mom and dad, who could be anyone's mom and dad (watch it and you'll see what I mean). A real standout in the film is Bullet's sidekick, John Enos III. In 1996 when this movie was made let's just say Enos was a perfect specimen of the male form. YUM. (Mickey was, likewise, in *excellent* shape!) Not only is Enos gorgeous, but he plays the faithful buddy who is also very wrapped up in his looks role well. Tupac, as Tank, the villain, isn't the greatest actor but he does OK. His clothes and his style are noteworthy. A couple of the gang members have screen presence, including Pudgy and Bullet's old pal who is now one of the white guy gang leaders.
There's a day-to-day sort of realness in the plot. It shows probably a week in the life of the characters. Some disturbing images of abandoned buildings-turned-heroin houses (not sure if they are called that, but if you know what a crackhouse is like, it's the same thing but with heroin. who knows maybe heroin houses are the forerunners to crackhouses and I just don't know it.) Lots of sad junkies doing their various things (shooting up, giving blowjobs for drugs, buying, selling, ODing.) Weaknesses in the film have less to do with the plot and the actors as it does with what seems to be sh*tty editing. That's a shame too, as Bullet (1996) has many elements that could have turned it into a classic.
I decided to watch Bullet for 2 reasons: 1) Mickey Rourke; and 2) it was going to be on HBO at a time when I was looking for a movie to watch. I was glad I watched it. I'll watch it again too. Give it a chance and see what you think of it.
the guy who plays bullet's older brother also really stands out to me. he definitely had crazy, paranoid war vet down.
and bullet's best friend was funny as hell. what a joke.
i heard mixed reviews about this movie so i decided to go in without expecting much and i was pleasantly surprised. i really enjoyed it.
it's not a feel good movie. it has lots of funny bits (for those of us with a sick sense of humor) but at the same time it is quite serious and i think people can learn from it. it may sound cool to be hard and tuff but watch this movie. i think the main intention of the movie was to show kids what street life can do to people (which of course had been done before in other films but its still good).
anyway... they say that this one of mickey rourke's few good moments in that point of his acting career and i would definitely encourage people to check it out.
not that bad 6/10
This movie in my view is a 'masterpiece' like many other movies out there ,but this never got enough attention, but now its gaining more attention and becoming a classic gem. The direction in this movie is excellent,some great arty shots of the streets in Brooklyn's and flashbacks from bullet himself... excellent music score also. As for the characters they all play superbly . Bullet is the street thug who just got out of the pin and cant come to terms with normal life ,whilst an old friend is on his trail for revenge,as bullet trys to step on his turf. This is 'Tank' played by Tu Pac ,this has to be one of the best ruthless thug characters i have seen played on screen since the 80s.
Rourke is amazing as the bullet,he roams around the streets with his bad addiction.....taking one day at a time, he looks cool in this movie,their's so much i could say for his character,but id be here typing for weeks ,so just watch him for yourself.... also 'Ted Levine' plays a superb role.
I seen this film in 96, i loved it then ,but didn't understand it as much then,i just loved the characters. But now my eyes are open and i can see the message, don't slip, cause its tough and mean out here. This movie tells the story of the street thug and all that comes with it like no other,forget menace to society etc...this is the 'real' deal....
'You ain't gonna make it out there,take long hard look in the mirror'- Butch Stein (bullet)
I must say it's a very good movie about life. I'm not surprised it was so underrated. Americans want energetic criminals who know what they are doing, who are invincible... or either succeed or get killed. Rourke however is a criminal... a criminal addicted to heroin with a demented brother... with no money, and no chance of getting out of it. Just like a life of a criminal really is.
I recommend this movie to European fans as it is very European, even though it was made in USA. Again - very good.
i purchased the movie from amazon in jan 2004 for my collection, only to discover the production company had cut 10 mins from the opening , thus missing that classic drive through upstate new york ,carried along by the sounds of barry whites " Never Gonna Give You Up" . to remove this scene above all others in the movie in my opinion is a crime. lets hope in the next run they will re edit to include what i think is the most important part of the movie, its sets the cool, calm, sexed up pace to follow
DVD Extras: both R and Unrated versions in both widescreen or fullscreen; and a 5 and a half minute featurette on the movie (including the trailer)
I'm laughing just writing about it. You can't take this movie too seriously. I've seen worse movies and this is really not that bad and Tupac put in a decent performance as the main villain. Overall, it's a pretty tough movie with a touch of goofiness. Other good Rourke flicks are "The Year of The Dragon", "Angel Heart", and "Wild Orchid".
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And something else. Micky is going to have a role in Russia, in Moscow, this is so cool, my favourite actor through 13 years of doing nothing plays in big movie again, in my country, and all this time i believed he is the best, it's a great feeling. But he sad something like 'i think the wrestler is my best role' he was wrong, Bullet is the best.
I don't feel that it is your average gangsta-thuggin'-violence 'n druggin' movie. It had a serene point to it. I just felt it powerful. The writers came up with a good story and plot/
I wonder how they came up with some of the lines in the scenes, pure genius. Characters are very well defined and entertaining, as they should be. Louis is fantastic, Butchie is brilliant, Tank is pure gangsta. Cookie, Sal, Frankie Eyelashes, Lester. This film is banging from the door!!
Loved the scene when Louis was training his elite army. The end of that scene shows Louis' gentle nature, when congratulating Stanley on his good demonstration. Basically everything Louis says or does is entertaining. "Would you like to eat Louis? I'm making Schmoltsen Gurdle soup, it's your fathers and Butchies favourite." Louis replies, "No thank you ma. The Pretzki's have left the cat out, I'll just nosh on that."
The toilet club scene is also top class. Just think about it. Those 2 punks Brian and Jamie, robbed and humiliated by Bullet in the Projects earlier on, decide to get revenge by planning to do him over with 3 more of their friends in the toilets. To think that they must have been watching him and planning their actions all this time. The 5 of them follow him to the toilets, 5 against 1 would seem like a lot but Bullet is seriously tough and the punks are pussies. Jamie pulls out his little flick knife which is very brave considering that Bullet has a penchant for stabbing peoples eyes out. Jamie acts tough, Brian too, their 3 friends watch on. Jaime goes for Bullet with the knife, Bullet grabs them both, throws them against the wall and scares the hell out of them. Obviously the 3 friends they called for backup run for it. "You didn't say this guy was crazy! We out of here!"Brian says "Fuckin' pussies!Please don't hurt him" which I find strange as they are both thrown against the wall, not just Jaime. Bullet lets them go, lectures them and they make their way out. I would love to have seen a follow up scene where Jaime and Brian catch up with their friends. I bet Jaime said he beat Bullet up or something. Absolutely brilliant. However this film is full of brilliant scenes. Dinner scene, fight scene, death scene, end scene, all scenes involving Tank. I would highly recommend this film to everyone.
If you actually grew up in places like this, you are just awed by the accuracy of tone and cadence in the portrayals of street life, drug culture, prison mentality, etc. Yes, Rourke's character is pathetic, but that's the point!
This is not a film for the tame; it is full of morbid humor that is often laced with mysoginistic or racist undertones. These characters are all flawed, and that is the point. There is also beauty in that darkness.