Bull (2019)

Rob Morgan,
Bull is a movie starring Rob Morgan, Amber Havard, and Yolonda Ross. In a near-abandoned subdivision west of Houston, a wayward teen runs headlong into her equally willful and unforgiving neighbor, an aging bullfighter who's seen...
  • 6.5 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2019-03-19 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Annie Silverstein, Director:
  • Bert Marcus, Heather Rae, Monique Walton, Ryan Zacarias, Producer:

All subtitles:



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Trailer:

9 / 10

The outlook for the future

Bull is the debut feature film of Annie Silverstein. She has come a long way from being a youth program coordinator to a Cannes Film Festival nominee. In 2014, she presented her short film Skunk in Cannes. The director has now returned with the premiere of her new movie in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival.

In the movie Bull, Annie Silverstein once again shows us provincial America where everything is too straightforward, too obvious and too cruel. The film is set on the outskirts of Houston, in a small town with its weirdos and losers. The town itself conforms to all our stereotypes, as we see dilapidated ranchos, outdated entertainment and people who can't give up their habits.

The given film is not about overwhelming victories or frantic attempts to reach ambitious goals. It is about the world where there are no prospects, but people are stubbornly trying to find them.

Kris, a teenager whose mother serves her sentence in prison, does not have any future expectations. She lives with a sick, authoritative grandmother, a little sister and a dog that strangles chickens in the neighborhood.

The girl is not like her peers, her thoughts are too mature. Even when she tries to blend in, it turns out to be a disaster, as she becomes the person she does not want to be.

She has no life she could dream of. Kris sees no way out of her mother's confinement and her own helplessness. At the age of 14 she strives to be better and older looking for the opportunities to earn money to provide for herself.

And the girl does grow older, but performing the deeds she is ashamed of, doing something that makes her get out of her comfort zone.

On the other hand, we see Abe, a former rodeo cowboy. He cannot quit his job, as it is a job of his life; even after giving up his career he keeps distracting bulls from other cowboys. He is the man who the life of a jockey depends on after an angry bull has flung its rider off.

Bull or horse rodeos are common pastime in the east of the United States. Entrance fee to such events ranges from $ 5 to $ 20 and the events themselves attract crowds of people. Modern animal rights activists have many arguments against holding the rodeos. Yet, what else can you do to enjoy yourself in a small town where the only thing you look out for is the lives of others?How can you stop participating in rodeos if they mean the world to you, they have become your universe? As soon as you go beyond it, you will die. Therefore, it is much easier to endure financial hardship, suffer from pain and fatigue than change something.

Abe's body resembles the body of a martyr. The way he treats it reminds us of unconscious self-torture. He does not seem to have enough willpower or motivation to start all over again.

At first glance, it may appear that the characters of the film are held hostage by the situation. In order to get out of the gulf of doubts, they have to make the right choice answering a number of questions - what, when, why... do we have to do anything at all?

All throughout the film, every single choice the characters make changes them dramatically. What is better - to get into a juvenile colony or apologize? Win your love back or persist in self-destruction?

Kris and Abe, seemingly incompatible people (at first sight), are drawn to each other like magnets. In the films, as well as in real life, it is not infrequent to encounter plots which revolve around people who find each other, 'break' each other and then 'mend'. The story which unfolds in Bull is a vivid example.In the beginning, you would not dare to say that these two can have something in common; you would not consider them to be capable of teaching each other, giving and receiving something in return.

Unexpectedly, though, the main heroes realize that there is somebody they can count on. The care they take of each other is manifested either in loyal support or complete inaction - unassuming and silent, but at the same time firm in spite of the mistakes and insults which were made either by themselves or others.

The characters bombard others with their problems, hurt everybody around while trying to assert themselves. Being indifferent, they rarely think about the people who surround them. Under such circumstances true friends are found and great trust is gained.

Despite the disappointment (be it with life, with yourself or each other), Kris and Abe have found people who do care. For them rodeo is not just about money. It is the desire to start everything from scratch or support the existing tradition. It turns into the confrontation, the struggle against the circumstances and themselves.

There are no goodies or baddies in the given movie. As a result, we do not feel too much sympathy for the heroes. The setting of the film does not allow us to forget that we are told the story of people who could live at any time and in any society. They are lonely, lost and rejected by others. Some might even call them narrow-minded. Still, together they are able to build a real life. The sense of unity empowers them so that they can sail against the wind.

They learn not to rush to battle, but play a waiting game. In life, as in bull rodeo, you have to take a break once in a while. After fate has taken its hand in your life rewarding you with numerous bruises, it thinks it has won as you are too weak to fight. Yet, the very moment it loses vigilance, we know who the game will be finally won by.

After all, everyone deserves a little happiness.

9 / 10

Great movie despite wrongful claims of animal abuse.

Great movie despite wrongful claims of animal abuse. Seems some people have no education on the handling of these animals and make false claims of abuse. Really, it's unfortunate, just dumb, and misleading to say such things. With that said if you want a good look at what it's like to be involved in western sports as a whole with a tremendous story of what it is to be human then watch this movie. Story and heart. Hope you enjoy.

3 / 10

Animal abuse!

I'm sorry but I cant support a film that promoting animal abuse on screen.I saw 'Saw' and I loved 'Okja' but those were just films!!!In this film you see the bull gets beaten and bleeding out for real. Rob Morgan was great in this film but im sorry- this is it for me...

1 / 10

Animal Cruelty at its worst

Somehow the makers of this movie forgot that it is the year 2020.Anyone who thinks that it is still okay to torture animals for no reason at all is mentally and spiritually underdeveloped. It is a shame that movies which promote the oppression and torture of animals still get funded. Future generations will be astonished by the things we do/did to these innocent sentient beings.

IF you absolutely want to make a movie about bullfighting then use CGI for gods sake.

Please don't pay for this conservative piece of garbage and give your money to an animal sanctuary instead.

7 / 10

no bull here

Greetings again from the darkness. A film focusing on an unlikely intersecting of cross-generational dead-end lives in a mostly ignored poverty-stricken area on the outskirts of Houston may not seem like much of a pick-me-up during these challenging times. And while it's not a crowd-pleaser, it is pleasing in a high quality independent filmmaking kind of way - especially to those of us who thrive on such projects. Writer-director Annie Silverstein's first feature film was co-written with Johnny McAllister and Josh Melrod, and it never tries to impress with any cleverness or trickery, and instead allows us to wallow in the harshness of a world that has its inhabitants grasping for hope.

We first see 14 year old Krystal (Kris) and her little sister messing with a chicken that's been killed by their pet pit bull in their backyard. The chicken belongs to their African American neighbor Abe, who threatens to shoot the dog if it comes in his yard again. Kris spends an inordinate amount of time taking care of her little sister. They live with their constantly annoyed grandmother while their mom is incarcerated. Jailhouse visits begin with hugs, and end with frustration. Kris seizes on an opportunity while neighbor Abe is gone for a weekend rodeo. She invites her friends over and they raid Abe's liquor and pain pills, and trash his house. The kids all have fun, but Abe is understandably upset when he returns home.

In a show of mercy towards Kris' grandmother, Abe agrees to allow Kris to clean up the party mess rather than be arrested and shipped to juvenile detention. Slowly, very slowly, Abe and Kris begin to bond. She is fascinated by middle-aged Abe's history. He was once a bull rider, and now he's a bull fighter - one of the guys in the arena who distracts the bulls so the riders can escape safely after their ride. His body and spirit are broken, and he's constantly in pain and sore. Kris, a sullen teenager, carries her own pain. Her situation is such that we (and Abe) find it difficult, if not meaningless, to judge her. She desperately wants to be loved and cared for, but finds none of that through her family or "friends."

Rob Morgan, who was so memorable in MUDBOUND (2017), plays Abe, a man who fights to maintain his dignity in a profession more conducive to younger folks, and with a body that continues to fail a bit more with each gore. He has some type of relationship with his ex, Sheila (Yolanda Ross), but mostly he's alone and quiet until he's around his fellow rodeo performers. Newcomer Amber Havard plays Kris, and captures the confusion and hurt with subtle facial movements of an actress far more experienced. The moment her mother (Peggy Schott) lets her down yet again is gut-wrenching, and we feel Kris' pain every bit as much as we feel Abe's pain at the tip of a bull horn.

Ms. Silverstein's film is surely to draw comparisons to the excellent THE RIDER (2017), with its understated approach, and power in the quietness and stillness. It touches on African American rodeos, and provides a contrast with 'white' rodeos, while also showing us the sex and drug issues facing young Kris. With its multi-generational view of life, we see a girl desperate for a role model, and a man coming to terms with loneliness. Kris and Abe prove quite the odd couple as she finds a glimmer of hope in her desire to become a bull rider, and Abe finds a companion and reason to carry on. The two fine performances help us deal with the often bleak daily lives of Kris and Abe, and Ms. Silverstein directs her film in such a visceral way that, as viewers, we are appreciative when the cloud lifts just a bit.