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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Bullhead [Blu-ray]


(MichaŽl R. Roskam , 2011)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Savage Film

Video: Soda Pictures



Region: 'B' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:09:05.000 

Disc Size: 24,998,285,482 bytes

Feature Size: 20,271,046,656 bytes

Video Bitrate: 16.10 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 20th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Dutch 1873 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1873 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio Dutch 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit



English (SDH), none



Making of (21:56)

Trailer (1:38)





Description: Bullhead is a harrowing tale of revenge, redemption and fate. Domineering cattle farmer Jacky Vanmarsenille (Rust & Bone's Matthias Schoenaerts in a ferocious breakout performance), constantly pumped on steroids and hormones, initiates a shady deal with a notorious mafioso meat trader. When an investigating federal agent is assassinated and a woman from his traumatic past resurfaces, Jacky must confront his demons and face the far-reaching consequences of his decisions.

Acclaimed at festivals worldwide the award-winning Bullhead is visceral saga bursting with rage that TwitchFilm calls “a tremendous of the most original crime films in recent memory.”



The Film:

His brow is wide, his eyes wary, and his long, flat nose looks like it's intimately acquainted with various blunt objects; from the moment Jacky Vanmarsenille (Schoenaerts) lurches face-first toward the camera, you understand why Belgian director Michael R. Roskam's debut feature is called Bullhead. A cattle farmer who intimidates clients into buying his beef, Jacky moves in the same morally dubious circles as the Flemish gangsters who peddle him illegal growth hormones. His own bulky physique and hyperaggressive attitude suggest a firsthand knowledge of such enhancers, but viewers should stifle the urge to dismiss him as just another steroid-taking mook. A well-placed flashback reveals the reason behind his volatility---instantly transforming Jacky from hair-trigger thug to tragic hero.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

My whole life I’ve known nothing but animals,” declares Jacky Vanmarsenille (Matthias Schoenaerts), the tragic and scary protagonist of “Bullhead.” Jacky, who is addicted to anabolic steroids, is a bulky, half-handsome, slightly misshapen lug who runs his family’s cattle farm in Limburg, in the Flemish region of Belgium.

Part character study, part crime thriller, “Bullhead” is the impressive but deeply flawed first feature written and directed by Michael R. Roskam. The movie is an Oscar nominee this year for best foreign language film.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Bullhead came out in the US on Blu-ray HERE and has now arrived in the UK from Soda Pictures.  Image quality seems quite good even for a single-layered effort with a modest bitrate. I'm unsure how this compares to the Image Entertainment release but perhaps we will add their captures one day. The 1080P supports decent contrast but there is nothing particularly remarkable - nor nothing to suggest it is not exporting an accurate presentation.  It's very clean showcasing some hi-def in close-ups but the film projects a dark, earthy aura and outdoor sequences appear the best. The Soda Pictures Blu-ray gave me a worthwhile, consistent, presentation.
















Audio :

The audio gives the option of DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 at 1873 kbps or linear PCM 2,0 channel at 1536 kbps both in the original Dutch language. Predictably, by the film's name the audio and effects can project tension and aggression but the separations are more on the subtle side.  Bullhead's score is by Raf Keunen and adds flavor to the more introspective and contemplative moments of the screenplay where boldness leaves a hollow. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

Extras consist of a 22-minute Making of (In Dutch and French with English subtitles) and a trailer. There are interviews in the Making of piece with the filmmakers and performers and I believe this is the same extra found on the US edition (that also includes a commentary that is absent here).



Wow - quite the ham-fisted first feature. I liked it despite the rougher patches. The one-dimensional aspects are overplayed but there are still worthy positives here - enough to consider a spin. The Soda Pictures Blu-ray provides a decent a/v presentation - one you can sink your teeth into when you are in the mood for such a film. Sure - I would recommend this for region 'B'-locked audiences. I loved the tension - aside from the overkill.


Gary Tooze

May 25th, 2013


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

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Gary W. Tooze






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