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Reviews & Ratings for
Bullhead More at IMDbPro »Rundskop (original title)

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58 out of 64 people found the following review useful:

Intense and powerful

Author: chrismsawin from United States
18 February 2012

Bullhead is the story of Jacky Vanmarsenille (Matthias Schoenaerts) a cattle farmer. He along with his business partners inject their cows with steroids and hormones to achieve the results they desire. The problem is the only thing Jacky injects more than his cows is himself as he's got some sort of chemical compound coursing through his veins at all times. Things begin to go south when Jacky makes a deal to distribute his cows to a well-known yet crooked meat trader. A federal agent is killed amongst their negotiations as Jacky is dragged into the investigation and his disturbing past comes bubbling to the surface.

Matthias Schoenaerts' performance is the first thing that will win you over. The reason why he shoots up so frequently along with what he injects himself with has this really breathtaking explanation. Schoenaerts has a short fuse the entire film and you never know when he's going to explode. That's the beauty of his performance. He's so dangerous yet you can't help but feel sympathy for the guy. Schoenaerts is a ferocious powerhouse that chews you up and spits you out like the most devastating hurricane imaginable.

Bullhead features some incredibly impressive cinematography. Belgium has never looked so beautiful. Those shots of the sky and the clouds that populate every inch of it and those lush moments of taking in the countryside speak volumes. Something as simple as grass blowing in the wind is made to look like this grand accomplishment thanks to how the film was shot. It was interesting to see characters that were out of frame become out of focus and or blurred in some way; whether they were approaching somebody in frame or walking away. It was a masterful touch.

The Belgian drama has a unique sense of perspective, as well. The dizzying staircase sequence near the end of the film is the best example. It kind of goes hand in hand with the cinematography though; a brilliant looking film is even better with distinguishing shots. Speaking of unique, the entire film is one of the more original experiences to grace the silver screen in quite some time. Bullhead does draw comparisons to films like Drive and even Bronson, but the mafia and mobster kind of storyline is presented in this rough, grainy, meaty, and intense package that hasn't been done before. Bronson is actually a really great comparison. Matthias Schoenaerts put on 59 pounds of muscle for Bullhead and Tom Hardy put on 42 pounds of muscle for Bronson. While the two films are almost nothing alike when it comes to their story lines, they're extremely similar at their core.

Bullhead is an extremely intense piece of cinema that includes a fairly bloody and hard hitting elevator sequence that rivals that infamous scene from Drive. With an incredible performance from Matthias Schoenaerts, gorgeous camera work, and a huge injection of originality, Bullhead should not be missed by anyone especially those who are looking for something different when it comes to movies. This comes highly recommended for those who enjoyed Animal Kingdom, A Prophet, Drive, and/or Bronson.

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63 out of 84 people found the following review useful:

More than a movie, a masterpiece, a work of art....!!

Author: alexandre_dewit from Belgium
18 August 2011

You do not have to be Belgian to appreciate and be an admirer of this movie. The way it is told, filmed and performed are Oscar worthy....

This the incredibly sad story of Jacky, a farmer who's whole life will be turned upside down following a dramatic and traumatising event in his youth....making him the man (or what's left of it) he is today!

It handles in a very realistic way the animal (cow-bull) drug and hormone maffia and its traffic. Following the lives of several people who are directly affected by it.

The two stories, one the telling of Jacky's way to deal with his trauma and how he suffers from it, how it affected him and the other about the hormone traffic are brilliantly melt together to a story that will leave no one insensitive!!


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50 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

An Oscar? Would be well deserved..!

Author: copykit7 from Reno, Nevada
20 January 2012

The kind of movie that hits you in the face. Once you learn the dark childhood-story of the main character, you learn to understand the movie more and more. The images are intense. Actor Matthias Schoenaerts makes an incredible impression.

This movie doesn't use explosions, 3D or other tricks to make you watch. But the powerhouse performances and typical Belgium scenery do.

The movie is set in the hormones and veterinarian mob. But the true story at the heart is one of revenge and the impossibility of love. Enter a raw, but true world. An brilliant Belgium movie. It deserves an Oscar.

PS: For Dutch or French viewers some scenes are actually funny because or the stereotypes and linguistic jokes.

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42 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

Oscar Material

Author: jorningmarstaal from Netherlands
22 October 2011

I made an account solely for this movie, a true tragic, mesmerizing Movie. It really is a must see. I think it has a very high change being nominated for the Oscars as best foreign movie and maybe even winning it. Another reviewer posted something about silence moments in this movie but really, even without saying much, you can feel the pain and tragedy the main characters went through. Brilliant performance by Matthias Schoenaerts and , amongst others, Frank Lammers.

I do think however the spoken language might be a bit of a barrier for non-Flemish/dutch speakers because I feel that a lot of the words and sentences spoken here add to the drama; translation tends to loose that drama. (I can give a few examples but that would be a spoiler) I predict that this movie will be remade/re shot in English (pity) for a broader audience.

10/10 for me

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31 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Easily the best film I have seen at Melbourne Film Fest 2011

Author: sharkies69 from Melbourne
4 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You really do have to tick all the boxes for this film. Start with the screenplay, it almost feels as if you could be reading a great crime/noir novel. Very few screenplays have that type of feel anymore. Lots of conflict and flesh and blood characters. Speaking of which, the actor portraying Jacky does an amazing job in what must have been a very difficult role to play. Apart from the screenplay and acting, the direction and photography is also of a high order. It takes a special script and director to get you to care about the characters and I felt this one long after I'd left the cinema. It packs a real emotional punch.

Without giving too much away, the story revolves around a rural Belgian family who are in the cattle business. They manage to get caught up in the illegal use of hormones in their animals, the drugs supplied by typically nasty underworld figures.

What really makes this film so riveting is the gripping and harrowing back story involving several of the main characters.

I believe this works as a crime film, drama and even part revenge flick. There is also a doomed love story.

I really hope this film gets a wide release as it certainly deserves it. I look forward to more films from this director.

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16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Matthias Schoenaerts, remarkable performance & Jacky's Haunting past will leave you speechless

Author: Saad Khan from Pakistan
10 July 2012

Rundskop – BullHead – CATCH IT (A) Belgian "Rundskop" is nothing what I had expected to be a movie about a cattle farmer. It turns out to be something beyond I had ever imagined. Rundskop is about a young cattle farmer Jacky Vanmarsenille (Matthias Schoenaerts), who is constantly pumped on steroids and hormones and initiates a shady deal with a notorious mafia in meat trader. The new set of events takes Jacky to his mysterious shocking past. To be honest even writing this gives me chills, I cannot believe what happened with him is anyway mentionable or thinkable. Rundskop features one of the most disturbing and beyond shocking scenes of the celluloid's history. After watching that it made me sick to my stomach and even now it's almost a week since I saw that but I cannot forget it. The brutality of that moment and its after effects on Jacky's life is remarkably portrayed in Rundskop. Matthias Schoenaerts as Jacky Vanmarsenille is remarkable, talk about Oscar worthy performance here. His pain, anger, loneliness and wanting to be loved can be seen through Matthias Schoenaerts's eyes and physicality. I don't have words for his performance so here is what famous critic Rodger Ebert says ""The one excellent aspect of the film is Matthias Schoenaerts' performance. We often follow him walking in a controlled lurch from side to side, as if merely walking is not enough of a challenge for him. We see his eyes, burning with pain. The film impresses because of the pain, sadness and rage contained in the title performance by Flemish actor Matthias Schoenaerts, who bulked up for the role (without steroids), and seems ready to burst from his clothes and even his skin." Te performance by all the supporting cast including young Jacky "Robin Valvekens" is admirable. In the end, Rundskop is an intense thriller/drama filled with a remarkable performance by Matthias Schoenaerts which makes me want to see all his previous and upcoming movies.

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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

A Brilliant, Brutal, Sad, Fantastic, and Hard-To-Watch, Incredible Display of Acting and Directing

Author: iwanna_know from Arlington, Texas
21 July 2012

I stumbled across this movie last night, and, although I'd no idea who the director or any of the actors are, based on the reviews, and especially the trailer, I decided to take a look.

I'm both sorry and glad I did.

I think the lead actor in this movie, Matthias Schoenaerts (who, incidentally, should have been cast as Bane in Batman Rises. He IS Bane) has a bright future in Hollywood. Certainly I know I'll be checking out his other movies, now that I'm aware of him.

Bullhead constantly threw me for a loop and kept me on my toes all at the same time.

The obvious simpatico between director Michael R. Roskam and Mr. Schoenaerts is evident in the constant tension and slight unease that's able to be maintained throughout the entire movie, even during the "softer" (if you can call them that) moments of the film. The scenes of Jacky, alone in his room/apartment are very powerful.

Jacky's alienation and rage make us, the viewer both nervous, as though he'll somehow be able to reach through the screen and bring us, kicking and screaming into his brutal world, and sympathetic as we're able to see the reason for this young man's pain.

The Oscar nomination (I've forgotten if it won or not, but if it didn't it should have) was well deserved, and I look forward to great things from this wonderful young actor.


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14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

"Unsettling and engagingly narrated..."

Author: Sindre Kaspersen from Norway
24 March 2012

Belgian screenwriter and director Michaël R. Roskam's feature film debut which he also wrote, is a Belgian production which was produced by Bart Van Langendock. It tells the story about Jacky Vanmarsenille, a cattle farmer from the Sint-Truiden area of Flanders who is part of a mafia that deals with meat and hormones. One day Jacky is contacted by a veterinarian who wants him to make a deal with a notorious West-Flemish beef trader. Jacky agrees, but when he unexpectedly is reunited with his childhood friend Diederik, he is reminded of an incident that has been tormenting him ever since it happened.

Michaël R. Roskam's finely directed first feature is a character-driven and plot-driven drama that draws an incisive portrayal of a huge Limburgian man who has been marked for life by a terrible occurrence from the past that now confronts him and becomes even more upsetting. This unconventional tale of a Belgian underground crime syndicate that is shaken when a local policeman is killed, contains a wide range of rare characters and is both an atmospheric mystery and an internal study of character about friendship and the afflicting consequences of lost innocence.

Finely photographed by cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis, this at times humorous, violent and well-paced thriller is reinforced by Matthias Schoenaerts' riveting acting performance in the leading role and the good supporting acting performances. An unsettling and engagingly narrated independent film which gained a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards in 2012.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Hard to Come By

Author: palmiro from Chicago United States
16 November 2012

I found this film remarkable for its ability to stir feelings of sympathy for a kind of character who seems utterly brutish and unredeemable. Jacky is a brute, the kind of man who all too often resorts to abominable acts of violence when he's aroused. And yet, thanks to the portrait of Jacky drawn by the director and by the actor, we cannot help but feel great sorrow for him. Yes, Jacky does terrible, terrible things over the course of the film, but by the end I was sobbing for him. Maybe it's simply "tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner", but whatever that emotion was I felt at the film's end it was something that revealed to me (and one would hope to all who see this film) a terrifying and redemptive bond of common humanity.

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18 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Belgian Masterpiece..

Author: from United States
24 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one dark drama that blows my mind, it is that damn good! Wrapped in a blanket of revenge and crime tale is a heart-wrenching unrequited love story and Actor Matthias Schoenaerts gives a towering performance as a man who doesn't feel like he could fully function because of a certain childhood tragedy that left him traumatized for the rest of his life. Everything about this movie, from the direction to the design to the cinematography has Oscars written all over it. Hollywood could not come up with a story as powerful as this Gripping, from start to finish, writer/director Michael Roskam created this character Jacky (Schoenaerts) who's extremely complex, engulfed in anger and sadness and despair, all those emotions just screaming to get out of their protective wall that is Jacky's massive, intimidating physical appearance. The tragedy that Roskam presents is the kind that you wouldn't easily shake off or forget for days after. I as a male viewer, find that particular scene disturbing and painful to watch. So much so that you share Jacky's anger, you'd find it easy to justify his actions, and you'd want him to enact his revenge and throw whatever mercy he has left out the window and all because he was not given a chance of mercy as a kid. Roskam has created a tragedy so deeply affecting that it makes it difficult for the audience to accept the idea that the story might take a detour down redemption lane because revenge seems like a much more comforting option. BULLHEAD is also somewhat a gangster film, it's also got its own murder mystery, undercover cop, and it's set in a rural farming community and so the mob depicted in this film doesn't look as stylized as the mob that you grew up watching in Hollywood cinema. In BULLHEAD, the bad guys are just trying to get by, just like everybody else. At one point, Jacky looks at the cattle in the barn and compares their lives as humans to the cattle, which serves as this film's profundity His friend helps him do his final bidding, that which he hopes would turn out as planned, sadly his presence is met with fear by the woman he professes to, which brings him to the conclusion that he could never escape his damaged condition, which is why the end scene makes the entire film feels even more distressing, some stories and some characters are just not meant to end on a happy note. BULLHEAD is a one of a kind masterpiece.

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