"Bullhead" is one of the big surprises of this awards season. A moody, stylish crime picture, the Belgian film is something of a surprise Oscar nominee in the foreign-language category, up against a cadre of more conventionally high-toned dramas. "Bullhead" opens Friday in Los Angeles at the Cinefamily.
In this exclusive clip from the film, the audience meets the main character of Jacky (portrayed in a widely celebrated performance by Matthias Schoenaerts) for the first time. Putting on some 60 pounds for the role, Schoenaerts conveys the sense that Jacky is a wounded animal, trying hard to put his past behind him even as he faces an uncertain future. A cattle farmer, Jacky finds himself caught up in a criminal underworld of hormone-dealing hoodlums. As this scene shows, Jacky is no pushover, but nevertheless winds up in over his head.
In an interview in Los Angeles last week, Michael R. Roskam, writer and director of "Bullhead," talked about the scene as the introduction to this uniquely configured character.
"I wanted to do many things in that scene," Roskam said. "First of all, creating the right tone with the camera and the movement. What's the environment: farms. What's it about: something illegal. The way he talks, it's intimidating and you feel immediately this is a gangster style.
"But at the same time, I want you to look at him the way I am looking at him: with a soft eye, tender almost. And that's the complete atmosphere of the scene. He's brutal and then he turns around and is, in a way, nice."
-- Mark Olsen
Photo: Sam Louwyck in the Belgian film "Bullhead". Credit: Savage Films.
Clip: Drafthouse Films