Review by Camden Ferrell
Bull had its premiere at the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival and played multiple festivals since then. This movie comes from writer/director Paul Andrew Williams, who has directed some critically acclaimed British television (Broadchurch) among other projects.
The titular character, Bull, is a former mob worker. After being absent for 10 years, he suddenly returns to his hometown on a quest of revenge against those who double-crossed him. In addition to seeking revenge against this gang of people, he is also trying to find his son. This premise is resonant of many other revenge thrillers we have seen in recent years like John Wick, Nobody, and most recently, Clean. While it’s a set up that is overused, it’s one that can always still be interesting if it is executed properly.
Despite having such an accomplished writer working on the film, the script is one of the biggest weaknesses of the movie. It does little beyond setting up the main story and motivation and letting the action and blood do the rest. It doesn’t do much to develop its lead character beyond surface level exposition, and this prevents the audience from feeling fully invested in the journey of the protagonist.
The film is led by Neil Maskell who is decent more than anything else. As the titular character, he is able to interact well with his co-stars, and while he’s no superstar in the action department, it’s hard to deny that he is enjoyable to watch in the more intense moments of the film. The rest of the cast is mostly forgettable and stays in the shadows of Maskell’s character.
While most of the movie feels bland, it is saved by its action. The only thing that prevents this film from being completely forgettable is its unrelenting violence. Bull’s path of revenge isn’t clean or pretty, and the movie does a great job of not straying away from the gruesome violence that makes this such an enjoyable genre. The lack of substance and originality is most definitely compensated by the film’s willingness to show the limits of human violence and cruelty.
Bull is a mostly enjoyable revenge thriller that is still plagued by many problems. Fans of the revenge thriller genre might enjoy the blood and gore of this film. However, those looking for a revenge drama with deep themes and development might find themselves underwhelmed.
Bull is in theaters April 1 and on VOD April 5.
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