Bullhead (film)

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Rundskop bullhead affiche poster.jpg
Theatrical Poster
Directed by Michaël R. Roskam
Produced by Savage Film
Written by Michaël R. Roskam
Music by Raf Keunen
Cinematography Nicolas Karakatsanis
Edited by Alain Dessauvage
Distributed by Kinepolis Film Distribution
Drafthouse Films
Release dates
  • 2 February 2011 (2011-02-02)
Running time 128 minutes
Country Belgium
Language Dutch
Box office $151,840 (US)

Bullhead (Dutch: Rundskop) is a 2011 Belgian drama film written and directed by Michaël R. Roskam and starring Matthias Schoenaerts. It tells the story of the young Limburgish cattle farmer Jacky Vanmarsenille, approached by an unscrupulous veterinarian to make a shady deal with a notorious West-Flemish beef trader. But the murder of a federal policeman, and an unexpected confrontation with a mysterious secret from Jacky's past, set in motion a chain of events with far-reaching consequences. The film is based on the murder of Karel van Noppen.

The film was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, but lost to A Separation. It is mainly in the Limburgish dialect of Dutch.




The film was selected for the panorama section of the 61st Berlin International Film Festival.[1] It premiered in the United States at Fantastic Fest in Austin. Drafthouse Films acquired the rights to distribute the film in the United States where it opened on 17 February 2012 in a limited release.[2]


Critical response[edit]

The film has received generally favourable reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 87% based on 59 reviews.[3] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average rating of 69/100 based on 23 reviews.[4]

While criticizing the film's awkward flow due to its use of flashbacks, Roger Ebert praised the performance from lead actor Matthias Schoenaerts, noting that

"The one excellent aspect of the film is Matthias Schoenaerts' performance. We often follow him walking in a controlled lurch from side to side, as if merely walking is not enough of a challenge for him. We see his eyes, burning with pain. [...] [The film] impresses because of the pain, sadness and rage contained in the title performance by Flemish actor Matthias Schoenaerts, who bulked up for the role (without steroids), and seems ready to burst from his clothes and even his skin."[5]


Bullhead was awarded both the New Authors Audience Award and the New Authors Critic’s Prize for Best Actor (Matthias Schoenaerts) AFI Fest.[6] The film won the AMD-sponsored Next Wave Award at Fantastic Fest.[2] Matthias Schoenaerts won the FIPRESCI Award for best actor at Palm Springs International Film Festival. The jury praised the actor’s "superb portrayal of an innocent and sensitive man trapped in a truculent body."[7][8] It won the Best Film Award at the Ostend Film Festival, received nine Magritte Award nominations and went on to win the awards for Best Flemish Film in Coproduction, Best Screenplay, Best Actor (for Schoernaerts) and Best Editing.[9] The film also received the André Cavens Award.[10]

Bullhead was selected as the Belgian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards.[11][12] It was officially nominated in this category on 24 January 2012,[13] but ultimately lost to the Iranian submission A Separation.


  1. ^ Senjanovic, Natasha (14 February 2011). "Bullhead: Berlin Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Borders, Meredith (27 January 2012). "Oscar Nominated BULLHEAD Opening In Limited Release On February 17!". Fantastic Fest. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Bullhead". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Bullhead". Metacritic. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Bullhead – Roger Ebert review". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "AFI Fest 2011 Awards – Winners". 10 November 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  7. ^ Pond, Steve (15 January 2012). "'Starbuck' Wins Top Palm Springs Fest Award". Reuters. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  8. ^ "Matthias Schoenaerts Wins Best Actor Palm Springs International Film Festival". Positive Impact Magazine. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Marsh, James (10 January 2012). "Bullhead bags 9 Nominations at Belgian Film Awards". Twitch Film. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Michael R. Roskam - Tête de bœuf". Flagey (in French) (Cinematek). Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "Rundskop wordt Belgische inzending voor Oscars". De Standaard (in Dutch). 16 September 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "63 Countries Vie for 2011 Foreign Language Film Oscar". oscars.org. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "Oscars 2012: Nominees in full". BBC News. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 

External links[edit]