Bull is a 2019 American drama film directed by Annie Silverstein. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. Since the film’s premiere, it has received resounding critical acclaim. It also went on to screen at the Deauville Film Festival winning three of the top five prizes, including the Grand Jury prize, Revelation prize for best first film and the Critics’ prize. The film will be distributed by Sony Pictures Worldwide.
- Starring : Rob Morgan / Amber Havard
- Genre : Drama
- Country : United States
- Language : English
- Director : Annie Silverstein
- Production : Bert Marcus Productions / Invisible Pictures
- Distributor : Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) / Stage 6 Films
Bull release date
- May 15, 2019 : France (Cannes Film Festival)
- September 10, 2019 : France (Deauville Film Festival)
- October 13, 2019 : Israel (Haifa Film Festival)
- October 18, 2019 : USA (Film Independent New Wave)
- November 6, 2019 : Sweden (Stockholm International Film Festival)
- November 11, 2019 : Ireland (Cork Film festival)
- Rob Morgan as Abe
- Amber Havard as Kris
- Yolonda Ross as Sheila
- Keira Bennett as Chance
- Karla Garbelotto as Officer Diaz
- Troy Anthony Hogan as Mike
- Peggy Schott as Mrs. Kelly
- Lee Stringer as Dr. Frank
- Keeli Wheeler as Marjorie
- James Schuler as Cowboy(uncredited)
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 90% based on 29 reviews, with an average rating of 7.01/10. At Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 63 out of 100, based on 7 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.
Bull premiered on May 15, 2019 in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter named Bull one of the best films at the Cannes Film Festival. Reviews have stated that the film is “moving” and that the two main characters “Morgan and Havard are excellent as the leads and are immensely likeable characters” “create a quiet storm.” Sight & Sound gave the film a five star review and noted that “Bull,…is a mesmerising film, and one that will linger in the imagination long after the sounds of the crickets have faded.” The Playlist also states that “the result is a sensitive, if occasionally orthodox, treatment of a compassionate friendship enacted in the face of societal apathy” and that “it’s a hardscrabble tale of one singular bond amidst a landscape of socio-economic struggle.”
Indiewire writes that the film is “‘The Rider’ Meets ‘The Wrestler’ in Striking Portrait of Black Rodeos.” Indiewire goes on to use the words “Touching, absorbing and poignant” to describe the film and states that it is “a wondrous vision of life on the edge” and “an evocative coming-of-age story…carried by a pair of astounding performances that hover on a plane of their own, generating unique chemistry that finds its emotional center with time.” The Hollywood Reporter also praises the direction stating that it is a “a poignantly restrained feature debut.” Ion Cinema distinguishes the film with other titles by stating that the main character’s relationship “exemplifies facets of humanity most of Bull’s comparable titles do not.” Film Threat states that the film “is shot beautifully in a slice-of-life style of storytelling. Void of theatrics. No exposition. No grand speeches about life (although there is a little bit of wisdom derived from the sport of bull riding itself).
Their lives are portrayed as real, like a wind-up toy and you simply follow where it goes. Conflict never feels contrived, and Havard and Morgan give wonderfully subtle authentic performances. Your right there as Kris and Abe as the two make tough choices to get them to the next stage of their lives. It’s a subtle tale about the bonds of friendship in times of hopelessness.” In addition, Cinemayward gave the film a 4/5. The Alliance of Women Film Journalists stated that the film is a “powerful, poetic debut feature” and that the film “portrays marginal lives with unflinching honesty and heart-wrenching humanity.” Slash Film also notes that “Bull stands as a powerful debut feature from a director with a keen eye for detail and terrific rapport with her performers, many of them untrained. The film easily could have descended into mawkishness, but instead the travails of Kris and Abe feel entirely real, and thus all the more moving. Silverstein takes Bull by the horns and drags us into this world, making us feel a part of these characters, witnessing their strengths and weakness as they come to grips with the challenges of life in their Texas town.”
The film has also been compared to the film, The Rider, but has been keenly distinguished: “far from being a carbon copy, it is another multifaceted cinematic examination of characters that are often pushed to the peripheries or treated with pity. It’s a fantastic narrative feature debut for Silverstein, and more than worthy of Un Certain Regard.” Forbes notes that “t’s not often that a piece of cinema like this comes along, something so simply composed and precise, that it is genuinely affecting.”
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