Bullet Head

Big dog lovers will probably enjoy this film more than anyone. I’m not talking Saint Bernards but rather pits, bulldogs, Rottweilers and others bred for fighting that hold a dear place in their owners’ hearts. Heist movie fans will probably be let down.

Bullet Head (2017)
R | 1h 33min | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 8 December 2017 (Lithuania)
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Three career criminals find themselves trapped in a warehouse with the law closing in and an even worse threat waiting inside – a nigh unstoppable killer dog.
Director: Paul Solet
Writer: Paul Solet
Stars: Adrien Brody, Antonio Banderas, John Malkovich

Our director is Paul Solet. He has made an accomplished looking film with only a few flaws which I will get into in the body of my review. This is his first feature-length film as far as I can recognize from his IMDB page. I respect the hell out of him for getting his BA in film. So many young film students bypass that, thinking they know it all without any humility whatsoever. Besides that I’m an age-old fan of education in general. It enables you to make better stuff. Of course there are exceptions. I hope to see more from Paul Solet.

Summary: By the nature of this section, there may be spoilers. There are some robbers and a dog fight in the same warehouse. The film focuses on when the twain shall meet. The three robbers are played by Rory Culkin, John Malkovich, and Adrien Brody. The dog fight leader is played by Antonio Banderas.

A noticeable tool the director uses is the flashback technique when a character is telling a story. He even includes their modern day visage in the clip, telling the story. For example, Roy is sharing a truly touching story about how his father put a dog down in front of him as he is standing in the barn modern day watching it with his younger self. This is a cool technique but I felt it might have been misused to tell dog stories when we have a heist going on. What I found out later is that this violent heist tale is really a sentimental “tough guy” dog tale in disguise. Notwithstanding, the flashback stories are enlightening and entertaining. My favorite is Malkovich’s story about his first heist stealing fish out of a fish store. An important one is when Brody’s character shares his true love left him and that he would meet her on a beach one day when he had himself together.

Rory is an addict and in the middle of the heist in this warehouse, he od’s. And then there were two. They begin to realize they are in this warehouse with a dog fighting racket and there is at least one dog in there who has lost and is yet to be put down. There are some truly violent dog scenes that may affect dog people. If it’s not shown, it’s inferred.

In the end, Malkovich’s character ends up shot and it’s a standoff between Brody’s character and Banderas’. The last 30 mins are really unnecessary back and forth between these two. At the end the wounded dog shows up and kills Banderas supposedly out of spite for making him fight. The final scene is Brody’s character walking toward his true love on a beach with a puppy pit.

Final Thoughts

This movie had my attention about 3/4 of the way through and that was when it got way too nursery-rhyme for me. I expected it to be a bit about dogs but not this much. It was a little misadvertised I think. Still, it showed good chops by a new director, no pun intended. I think dog lovers and teens will find this a fun movie. The acting is so so. Rory Culkin seems the most believable and that’s sad. I have to blame the writer mostly for tha though, the actors did the best they could with a sub-par script. Once again, I do want to compliment the director. I expect great movies from him in the future. Perhaps a clearer singular focus would go further next time? I give this film a 6/10, which is an ok score. Worth checking out.

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