Competing for this year’s Foreign Language Oscar, the Belgian entry Bullhead is pretty much what experience has taught me is a characteristic example of filmmaking from Belgium—a dark, gruesome, sickening but extremely original work that is both repellent and fascinating. It’s about a vicious, bullying cattle farmer named Jacky who swings a shady deal with a Mafia meat trader that results in the murder of a federal cop investigating the use of illegal hormones in meat-packing plants. Jacky is played with ferocious power by coarse, craggy newcomer Matthias Schoenaerts, whose brawny, menacing swagger masks a sad, desperate emptiness that reminds me of the first time the screen unveiled the terrifying impact of Ralph Fiennes’s Nazi camp commander in Schindler’s List. Read More
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