Bullhead: A Brutally Elegant Crime Film Starring Meat, Drugs, and Vengeance
Nominated for best foreign language film at this year’s Academy Awards, Belgium’s Bullhead is a crime film whose type you’ve never seen before. Primal imagery abounds, typically involving meat and drugs—from the cows artificially ripened with black-market hormones to the rentable women of the red-light district to our steroid-riddled protagonist, a blunted-out mass of a man who gets caught up in Flemish mafia drama. Director Michael R. Roskam knows exactly what he’s doing, using an extended flashback to make our hero-monster’s motivating damage viscerally real, while keeping his crime drama small and tight: Bullhead concerns a single murder, the disposal of a single car, and one age-old wrong still crying out for vengeance. At the center of this brutal yet elegant film: a towering performance (literally and figuratively) by Matthias Schoenaerts.