Movie Review: Bullet Head
Director: Paul Solet
Writer: Paul Solet
Stars: Adrien Brody, John Malkovich, Antonio Banderas, Rory Culkin
Bullet Head kicks off with a strange sequence, we are thrown into a dog POV of its first dog fight, it in itself is a strange beginning and if you are an animal lover it is an upsetting sequence (not due to the graphic nature but rather the implied).
With the most commonly used of crime film tropes - the heist gone wrong - our crims, safecrackers Stacy (Brody) & Walker (Malkovich) and their ill-advised junkie partner Gage (Culkin) are holed up in an old storage centre after their score goes wrong, courtesy of Gage's drug habit. Of course unknown to the group, they are not alone. A vicious, bloodthirsty dog is also locked in there with them.
So we have all the trappings of a crime / killer-animal / B-Horror film and it becomes all these things but also much more. For a single location film – albeit a big single location – there are a lot of flashbacks, in fact most of the film is filled with flashbacks. Yet the way these flashbacks are told is great, utilising the location as they re-tell their stories is great way to ‘leave’ the location without actually going anywhere. The flashbacks also provide the actors with their chance to shine and they take that chance with both hands. Brody and Malkovich dominate this film, they are so goddamn good – I mean I am not telling you anything new here, they are great actors – but they crush it in this film. Their acting is so good that you don’t realise until later that these flashbacks barring one or two don’t actually relate to the film at hand. Further to this they aren’t really given any character development either, this is the case with all the characters. Banderas who plays the crime boss / dog fighting pit boss – Blue, is great too but really has not too much to work with beyond being the bad guy.
Despite all this, Bullet Head lands thanks to the climax. Paul Solet has crafted a sneaky little number that makes you think you are getting one thing but this was all a misdirect to land the big blows for the finale. I am not talking action film blows – even though there are some excellent, if sparse action and dog chase scenes – no it is the emotional clout that gets you in the end. After all that comes before it, the film then kicks you right in the guts really hard – it isn't really about the crims and their reasons for doing what they do but it’s about the dog, it has always been about the dog. Whilst it sounds trite to say (especially in this current climate) and its a theme touched on time and time again but man is the monster in this film. Or more aptly that man can choose to be the monster or we can choose to not create monsters, to be our own saviour instead of our own destroyer.
Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78