365 High-Def Days of Oscar: Day Filling it in later
Release Year: 2011
Best Foreign Language Film
THE PLOT THUS FAR
A young cattle farmer is approached by a veterinarian to make a deal with a notorious beef trader.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
“Bullhead” focuses on Jacky Vanmarsenille, a cattle farmer with a potentially violent temper, Michael R. Roskam’s film takes us bluntly into a dissection of the long-reaching impact of a childhood trauma on a person. It’s a film that concerns itself very much in the study of this man, but it’s narrative centers around a police investigation into the “hormone mafia”, an organization which Jacky finds himself involved.
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.
The Blu-Ray comes with featurettes, interviews, a commentary, trailer and Roskam’s previous short film. The DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track is pretty sharp, but there’s only a limited amount of scenes that allows it to come alive. The 1080p transfer is a revelation, far surpassing my rather shoddy theatrical viewing. But, I must say that I love the cases being used for the Drafthouse Films Blu-Rays. Quite a nice touch. In the end, I’d recommend a blind buy.
RELEASE DATE: 06/26/2012