"Bullhead," the Academy Award-nominated foreign-language film from Belgium, is a dark, haunting and wholly original exploration of what it means to be a man.
Writer-director Michael R. Roskam's auspicious feature film debut initially looks like a crime thriller, full of shady figures making secret nighttime deals, with a tension and a seamy, muted colour palette reminiscent of David Fincher. But eventually it reveals itself to be a character drama about the way the past shapes us and our inability to escape it, no matter how convincingly we believe we've transformed ourselves.
Matthias Schoenaerts gives a fierce and frightening turn as Jacky, a steroid-addicted cattle rancher who works out an arrangement with some meat-trading Flemish mobsters, only to try and back out when an investigating federal agent is gunned down. This sequence of events forces him to revisit a horrific incident from his childhood 20 years ago, as well as the people who were crucial to that pivotal moment.
Movie review: Oscar-nominated Belgium film 'Bullhead' marks a fierce debut - Winnipeg Free Press