Bullhead AKA Rundskop (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Soda Pictures
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (2nd June 2013).
The Film

***This is a technical review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

A hormone-addicted cattle farmer becomes drawn into the murky world of Belgium's illegal beef trade in this award-winning noir-ish debut from director Michael R. Roskam. Haunted by a disturbing incident from his past, Flemish farmer Jacky Vanmarsenille (Matthias Schoenaerts) is addicted to the illegal hormones he regularly feeds to his cattle. Bull-like in appearance, his unpredictable, violent presence soon comes to the attention of mobsters involved in what is known locally as the 'hormone mafia'. But after being coerced into dealing with a shady meat trader, Jacky's life spirals out of control as the murder of a policeman and the re-appearance of a woman from his past conspire to threaten his future.

Video

Soda Pictures release "Bullhead" in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and the transfer uses an AVC MPEG-4 codec. Stylistically, the film is quite a dark affair, with low lighting used on sets and lots of greys and other dark colours. This blu-ray does a great job in respecting the work of cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis, with consistent contrast levels and a high level of sharpness in the various dull shades used for the duration. Detail is very good throughout, especially during facial close-ups where every hair, contour and blemish is replicated perfectly. Apart from the occasional appearance of very mild artefacting, I have nothing of note to complain about with this transfer. Very pleasing.

The disc is a BD25 and region B locked. The feature runs 129:05.

Audio

There are two audio options available here:
- Flemish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Flemish LPCM 2.0 Stereo

For my viewing, I opted for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which certainly does the job. In using subtle effects for the surrounds rather than overusing them robustly, you become immersed in the world of Jacky Vanmarsenille and how he lives his life. Directionality is very good and the score by Raf Keunen is well utilised, and makes good use of all the surrounds and the LFE as required. This may not be the most exhilarating track in the world, but it's technically sound.

Optional subtitles are included in English.

Extras

The main extra is a making of featurette which runs for 21 minutes and 56 seconds. It's an informative look at various aspects of "Bullhead"'s production and includes plenty of soundbites from cast and crew. We hear about the preparation undertaken by Shoenaerts for his part and numerous elements of the story. We also see some behind the scenes and on set footage.

The only other extra is a theatrical trailer (1:38).

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: A- Audio: B+ Extras: D+ Overall: B+

 


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