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Bullhead Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: French/Dutch DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), Dolby Digital 5.1,
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 124 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray + Digital Copy)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment/Drafthouse Films
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 26, 2012
  • List Price: $29.97

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

A stunning feature debut from Belgian director Michael R. Roskam, Bullhead (Rundskop) is a slow-burning euro-crime drama that takes viewers into the head of its protagonist. A classic anti-hero, Jacky (Matthias Schoenaerts), seems at first to be a prototypical musclebound meathead – pun intended. A cattle farmer wrapped up in the underground world of hormone trade for the purposes of illegally beefing up the cows on the family farm, he’s big, little in the way of words and brutish. It isn’t until later we learn that, because of a childhood trauma involving a bully, Jacky himself has had to rely on steroids and hormones to develop his “secondary sexual characteristics” as a doctor in the film put it. This has left him angry, prone to temper tantrums, and struggling with shame for most of his life.

Now, when an illegal meat trade goes bad leaving a hormone investigator dead and the farm under investigation, Jacky is once again confronted with his past, particularly when a woman he knew as a child, Lucia (Jeanne Dandoy) resurfaces.

More than a simple crime drama, Bullhead is an interesting character study and a telling discourse on steroid abuse, gender identity, and isolation. The gorgeous cinematography, marked by fittingly drab color schemes and stark landscapes, is almost a character to itself.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Image Entertainment’s AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer of Bullhead is film-like with little issues concerning video noise or any post-processing misdeeds. Shadow detail is strong, although the dark levels aren’t extremely deep and overall contrast seems just slightly weak, giving the image, at times, a bit of a dull appearance.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The mixed Dutch/French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack doesn’t do much to bring the listener into the action, but that’s not surprising. This is a rather dialogue-driven film. Still, something more could have been done with the surround channels to beef up atmospherics instead of making the mix so dry and narrow in dynamic range. In the end, however, the dialogue is clean and it gets the job done.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

The supplements here are mainly interviews with the director Roskam and star Shoenaerts, additionally there is the audio commentary with the director and a 2005 short film by Roskam also starring Matthias Schoenaerts.

The supplements:

  • Commentary with Director Michaël R. Roskam
  • The Making of Bullhead (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:21:58)
  • Interview with Michaël R. Roskam (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:11:48)
  • Interview with Star Matthias Schoenaerts (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:06:33)
  • The One Thing to Do: Roskam’s 2005 Short Film Starring Matthias Schoenaerts (1.78:1; SD; 00:25:11)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • Collector’s Edition Booklet with Forward by Michael Mann (Manhunter)
  • Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Bullhead marks an excellent feature-length debut for director Michael R. Roskam, earning him a much deserved Oscar nomination (Best Foreign Language Film), proving he has big things ahead of him if he can continue to grow as a filmmaker. This is an instant classic in the crime drama genre. Highly recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Bullhead on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Download Bullhead on iTunes

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B0078TLREY[/amazon-product]

Purchase Bullhead on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Download Bullhead on iTunes

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

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