Next up in the recaps is an odd combo, I’d guess. Probably should have taken the next double features movies (since I’m way ahead on watching movies but way behind on reviewing them). Either way, it is what it is. As I work through the Shudder movies, Bullhead came up which I wanted to watch because I love Matthias Schoenaerts. And then, I remembered that I had a rental that was almost due for The Shape of Water so here we are with two features with nothing in common except that they are both dramas.
Let’s just check it out!
Bullhead (original title: Rundskop, 2011)
Director (and writer): Michael R. Roskam
Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeroen Perceval, Jeanne Dandoy, Tibo Vandenborre, Frank Lamars
Sint-Truiden, Belgium. Jacky, a young cattle farmer who is constantly pumped on steroids and hormones, is approached by a veterinarian to make a deal with a notorious beef trader. – IMDB
Before we start this up, there’s a serious language labelling issue on Shudder. It said this was in English but its not. Bullhead is in Limburgish, Dutch and French. The French parts are the only ones that I had any ease at watching although it was fairly good subtitles. Regardless of that, Bullhead is quite an interesting movie. I don’t think that the crime part did a whole lot for me but the intriguing part is in watching Jacky, played by Matthias Schoenaerts as he grasps his character so well, with its aggression, pain and complex emotions. Its more of a character study than anything because everyone lacks depth in comparison to Jacky who we start learning about his past and why he is the way he is. There is a lot of unspoken moments and I love movies that can deliver those moments well.
Honestly, this movie is fairly slow-paced and requires a little bit of patience. It is a dramatic and at times, a little off-putting. Overall, Bullhead might not exactly be a great crime thriller that it was cut out for but Matthias Schoenaerts taking on the role of the main character Jacky is exceptional.
The Shape of Water (2017)
Director (and co-writer): Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, Doug Jones
At a top secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity. – IMDB
Exceptional style and great visuals are two things to always expect in Guillermo del Toro films and The Shape of Water is no exception. There is a real balance between its colorful characters, thanks to an outstanding cast, along with its music/soundtrack paired up with the great visuals and set and how can we forget the Amphibian Man. While I can’t say that I think the story was particularly great, it did hit a lot of great elements and it derived from a story using a mute girl, played by Sally Hawkins who can’t seem to fit in and be heard but finds her place in only a few friends but it seems to truly make her come alive when she encounters the Amphibian Man. The lack of talking on her part emphasizes on how skillful Sally Hawkins was in her role as it gave her moments a lot of time to just imagine what she would do next but never quite know until she’s doing it.
As great as the visuals and the music here, the cast here shines also. Sally Hawkins, as I mentioned above is great in her role and hard to imagine any chemistry between her and an Amphibian Man but she manages to get there and at the same time, also let her character grow and develop. Octavia Spencer is always a joy to watch on screen. She has so much charisma and attitude that she truly embraces her role while Richard Jenkins plays a character somewhat the opposite of her character but also shows his worth and how everyone of them has their struggle to find their worth as well. And its how these two people are also friends with Sally Hawkins’ character. Now, let me take a breath as I talk about Michael Shannon because oh my goodness, is he a great actor? You can probably go back to the movies I’ve reviewed of his and you’ll see me say that also. I never think about Michael Shannon but whenever he shows up in a movie, he just is awesome and its no different here as he plays the villain. I actually had actual moments of disgust and hatred towards his character by the end. Its really a great thing one someone can carry a role in such a believable way.
Overall, there is so much to love about The Shape of Water. I don’t know if its Best Picture material since I haven’t seen the other nominations but this one is a must-watch. Its not quite as spectacular as some of del Toro’s earlier work but it tells a fantastic story and the soundtrack and visuals are great. There are some great sets here. What I love most about this story is the way they end it. Some people mess up the ending but this one I think ended it in such a smart way.
That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen these films?