Release Date: Feb. 17, 2012
Running Time: 126 minutes
The toast of last year’s Fantastic Fest, and an Oscar contender for Best Foreign Language Film, the Drafthouse Films-distributed Bullhead offers a powerful and profound portrait of a man struggling with his literal and figurative impotency. Matthias Schoenaerts stars as Jacky, a quiet and intense cattle farmer whose dealings with illegal hormones dovetails with his own steroid abuse. He does anything and everything to counter the physical and emotional pain he suffers from years after a childhood incident that robbed him of his manhood. His thoughts turn to revenge when he’s dragged into striking up a partnership with a meat trader with mob ties. As this brooding mass of muscle, Schoenaerts stomps through Bullheadtrying his best to contain the fury that has built up in Jacky over the course of two decades. Schoenaerts may possess dead eyes and a blank face, but under the surface you can hear the ticking of a time bomb waiting to go explode. His target? Director Michaël R. Roskam offers several as Jacky’s past collides with his present. If Jacky could take everyone out in one go, he would. For all his brute strength, though, Jacky doesn’t know how to channel his anger. It all goes back to Jacky’s injury, and his inability to act allows Roskam to dissect the true nature of masculinity within society in general and the violent, corrupt male-dominated world Jacky inhabits. Jacky’s criminal endeavors and his pursuit of revenge take a backseat to his attempt to reconcile who he is with what he has become as a result of the brutal act committed against him as a preteen. While many in Bullhead feel free to taunt and disrespect Jacky, Roskam treats him and his existential crisis with uncommon compassion. Those around Jacky may see a wounded animal too scared and juiced up to be a threat, but Roskam makes us understand this is a psychologically scarred sensitive soul who is in a steroid-induced war with himself and the world.
Aired: Feb. 16, 2012
Web site: http://drafthousefilms.com/film/bullhead