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Bullet in the Brain (2001)

Outspokenly critical writing teacher allows his criticism to extend to his everyday life and soon learns why that is not a good idea. While the titular "Bullet in the Brain" does its work, ... See full summary »


David Von Ancken


David Von Ancken, Tobias Wolff (short story)
5 wins. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Tom Noonan ... Anders
Dean Winters ... Bank Robber
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Cecelia Antoinette
Carlos Barbot ... Student
Johnny Cenicola Johnny Cenicola
Samara Harris ... Sheri
Gina Merchan Gina Merchan ... Bank Teller
George Plimpton ... Narrator (voice)
Tade Reen
Lorene Scafaria ... Eager Student
Matt Young Matt Young


Outspokenly critical writing teacher allows his criticism to extend to his everyday life and soon learns why that is not a good idea. While the titular "Bullet in the Brain" does its work, we learn by example a bit about the art of writing. Written by <havan_ironoak@bigfoot.com>

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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

24 October 2001 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Golyó az agyban See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Transmission of nerve impulses is not that fast. The bullet wins. See more »


Featured in Short Fuse: A Collection of Explosive Shorts (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderful – pure and simply enjoyable and moving
28 September 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Anders is an over-critical writing teacher who carries is criticism into his own life. When he is involved in a bank robbery his critical remarks lead to his death. In the instant the bullet travels into his brain we are treated to writing par excellence as his life passes before his eyes.

Man some short films can suck. Some really just turn you off with their pretension and their desire to be arty. However some can feel generally fresh and just blow you away with the story, the telling, the acting and the sheer talent of the makers. Bullet in the brain is very much in the latter category.

The opening of the film sets up the character of Anders as an critical unpleasant man who is unwilling to make compromise or be polite to other people. This is enjoyable a sit is well acted and well directed. When the bank robbery happens it is well staged but is only the step to what I think is the best 5 minutes of short I've seen in ages. The murder of Anders sparks a narrator telling us about Anders's life flashing before his eyes.

It's hard to describe but this is excellent. The narration is written in a literary style that Anders would have approved of and is accompanied by perfect shots and images that leave the side issue of the robbery long behind. What Anders does and doesn't remember is wonderful and really tells you a lot about the nature and brevity of life. Plimpton's voice is absolutely perfect for the narration and he makes it work very well. However the direction is what makes his short so arresting. Every shot is captivating – whether it be a washed out silent classroom or a sun-soaked cornfield where you can feel the summer heat from the screen in front of you.

Noonan is excellent in the lead role and makes Anders feel real despite how unpleasant he is. The cast member I was most excited about seeing was Dean Winters – better known as O'Reilly from HBO's Oz. He is so very good in Oz that I was glad to see him in something else. He is good here but only briefly and his bank robber is too close to his O'Reilly for my liking. As I've said the short is sublime in the second half and praise should be given to the casting people for selecting Plimpton for the narration.

Overall it is hard to fault this short and I really want to track down the source material now to get more flesh on these bones. The first half will interest you as you get to know Anders, the second half will blow you away as you learn the power of words and the power of images when everything works just right.

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