Bully

Bully

54%
  • Bully
    2 minutes 39 seconds
    Added: May 9, 2008

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Bully Reviews

Page 1 of 71
Jack Hawkins
Jack Hawkins

Super Reviewer

August 3, 2012
'Bully' gives the viewer an insight into a group of maddeningly awful young people. They're much like the characters from a Bret Easton Ellis novel, only these ones are of a slightly later generation, meaning there is a marked 'wannabe black/rapper' theme amongst the group, which is laughably contrived. Their incessant exchange of conversation, which seldom exceeds excessive swearing or needless use of the word 'like', often becomes grating. The characters are so devoid of any intelligence and have such warped attitudes towards violence and sex that it makes you question whether people this retarded exist - worryingly, if you go to the right area, they do.

The first half of the film is crude trash; however it is well-acted crude trash. I wanted to hate the film because I hated every character, but the characters were clearly purposefully constructed to be that way. To hate the film for its ugliness could be deemed as missing the point, I suppose the film acts a cautionary tale, showing what some areas of society can devolve into. In this respect, it 'succeeds'. Its chief success is how it portrays the ugly messiness of violence; it covers a spectrum of emotions from its characters during the visceral, realistically unpleasant climax, a scene that's very well constructed by the preceding twenty minutes or so.

However, Larry Clark's trademark perversion is all over this film, paying gratuitous attention to the bodies and sex of the teenage cast. It's ultimately rather one-dimensional; its narrative of murder is captivating, but its study of reckless, idiotic culture is unnecessary - viewers are already aware of people like this. Its absence of any likeable characters and presence of many detestable ones overshadows the film's merits of decent acting and engaging murder plot. There is essentially no incentive to watch this film, 'Bully' is just another instalment in Clark's portfolio of attention seeking controversy.
TheDudeLebowski65
TheDudeLebowski65

Super Reviewer

September 24, 2011
A powerful true to story drama, Bully is a stunning and very dark film. With a great cast of actors, director Larry Clark crafts a memorable drama that is hard to watch as you see a group of teenagers plot to kill one of their friends who is physically abusive and who has raped one of their friends. As the abuse becomes harder to bear, the teens are more determined to kill Bobby Kent who is the one who abuses all of them. The film goes deeper into dark territory as you see everyone fed up with the way Bobby Kent treats everyone. Kent is brilliantly played by Nick Stahl who gives a riveting and brutal performance. Brad Renfro plays Marty Puccio, Bobby Kent's best friend and main target of his abuse. I really enjoyed the film, but I felt it was pretty hard to watch at the same time. The performances are top-notch and Bully is a dark, gritty in your face type of film. This is not a film for everyone. The strength of the film lies in the powerful acting, directing and story. If you're looking for a powerful drama film, then give this one a shot. The film is brutal, and quite depressing, but nevertheless, is a terrific film that has a wonderful cast of actors who light up the screen with their presence. This is not a perfect film, but there's enough going on on-screen to make it worth watching. Bully is a very good film that explores the darkest corners of revenge and it does very well enough to keep you interested till the very end.
Zach B

Super Reviewer

February 26, 2012
Essentially, this is one hell of a disturbing film. But what makes this even more shocking is the direction of Larry Clark and the dark, gritty way the film is shot. Based on a true story, this film is one that holds nothing back and is disturbing enough to make A Clockwork Orange look tamed. Yet, I find myself loving this film every time I watch it. What can you say? I like good film even if it is this extreme.
As I said, this film is based on a real murder case in the 1990's that involved a group of friends brutally murdering one of them due to his psychotic, brutal, and completely sadistic tensions he posses. I heard about this film one night when I was flipping through the channels on TV one night and I just happen to see the ending. Right when it was revealed what had happened to the real people that this film is based on, I was hooked. But the more I looked into this film, the more I got sucked in, the more deranged and disturbed I became until I sat down and watched this film. My main reaction at the end was that I was sick and disgusted by what I saw. I guess it was due to me seeing this film at a young age and not mentally ready to deal with this film's subject matter. Later on when I rewatched this film, I saw it as a masterpiece in a very twisted sense of the word.
When I call this film a masterpiece, what I mean is the audacity to create a film that shows explicit scenes of teenage sex, rape, drug usage, and complete chaos without sugar coating anything. What I also mean is the performance of the cast as they tackle this film. Watching what they had to do, I would not doubt it that they were all disturbed with what they had to do. These kids had balls and while a few of them did not act well, they still all gave this film a power that has yet to be matched in my opinion (in terms of young actors).
But one kid that I feel the need to talk about is Nick Stahl as the titular 'Bully': Bobby. As I have mentioned in other reviews I have written for this site, my second favorite film of all time is A Clockwork Orange. When I saw Nick Stahl's performance in this film, I was beyond reminded of Malcolm McDowell's performance as Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange. Both characters are young, they both obsess over torturing people and raping others just for fun, and they are both the most sadistic bastards you can imagine. But what makes DeLarge likable in a sick sense is how he changes throughout Clockwork. With Bobby, you can't. He is just hateful and despicable, and I love hating him in this film. But with acting, Stahl does an excellent job with this character, but I would of personally liked it if we were able to see more sides to his character.
That is my main complaint with this film: the characters represent only one emotion: either scared, pissed, horny, or evil. I would of loved it if I could of seen more shades to the characters and be able to grow into them all. But, Clark had a story to tell and went with that route for some reason and as such, I will just accept it.
Larry Clark is the type of director that I admire. This and his previous film Kids (a film that is true horror) shows the true underside of teenagers this day and age. His film also have that feel of being eternal due to how real these films get as they age. Back when they were released, it looked kind of true, but now these films are reality. With him basing all of his films on people he knows and/or news reports, what you see in his films is as extreme as they get. With Bully, this might be his most tamed film, and that means nothing.
By no means is Bully a film for children. If anything, Bully is a film that should be shown to high school students and anyone older. With the rising problem with bullying among teenagers, this film is a wake up call to people, telling them that this is real and this does actually happen. But as a regular film, prepare to be disturbed. A wonderful portrait.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

July 1, 2007
Based on a true story, this is a teen story with a difference. Sexually charged and drug fueled teens seek revenge on the bully who controls them and don't quite think their plan through. Watching the uncut version of this, certainly highlights the extreme levels of bullying and control, which you may otherwise not experience with the uncut version.
theunknownhobo
theunknownhobo

Super Reviewer

August 29, 2011
I watched this movie to see if Larry Clark managed to bring in some of the darker elements that I felt were missing from his previous movie Kids. I honestly enjoyed seeing this movie had done just so, encorporating some of the more twisted pieces of the teenage psyche and pulling it off with class. The only reason this movie has not been marked higher is simply because the acting was diabolical. But don't let that spoil it for you, a really good movie in general.
Japes
Japes

Super Reviewer

August 13, 2011
Maybe if the girls weren't such whores and Marty wasn't such a fucking girl, Bobby wouldn't be a problem.

This movie sucks, and is very exploitative.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

July 28, 2011
A thoroughly repulsive, misguided attempt at showing a story about bottled-up anger, with director Larry Clark giving a pornographic take on a murder gone bad, after a bully (Nick Stahl) pushes his friend to far. This is one of the longest films I have seen mentally, a film that has nothing to say about younger members of society other than a ear-full of "Shame on you!"s through snide camera lenses. This movie is really just a piece of trash, which is poorly acted (save for Michael Pitt), horrendously scripted, and a disappointing missed opportunity on childhood bullying and its repercussions later down the line. While a similar film, "Mean Creek", effectively showed the horror of the murder of a bully and gave us characters to feel for, director Clark is so intent on making you despise every one of his characters it's really puzzling as to why he expected this film to be powerful in any way. Stay far away from this travesty of a film.
Mark H

Super Reviewer

July 15, 2008
Unsettling drama about the events that lead a Florida teen, who is bullied physically and verbally by his best friend, to tragedy. Director Larry Clark deals with the darker side of adolescence, kids from wealthy homes without any guidance or respect for authority. His themes of rampant sex, illegal drug use and disaffected teens are all on display here. Indeed this suburban tale of nihilism documents their abundant depravity. The cinematography teeters between exploitative on the one hand and boldly candid on the other. Does he mean to condemn their behavior or capitalize on it? Larry Clark has a leering eye and his camera lingers in ways that will repel many. Beneath the voyeuristic surface, however, there is much to recommend. The performances are searing. Brad Renfro as surfer Marty embodies just the right amount of helplessness and intensity that makes his character so compelling and Rachel Miner as his girlfriend Lisa, incredibly integrates both cunning calculation and wayward negligence in the same person. When you combine all this with the fact that this actually happened, it makes for a memorable trip into an adolescent world you've never seen (or hope to never see for that matter).
Nicki M

Super Reviewer

January 19, 2008
Hard film to review. I can see where the criticism comes from - there is a lot of nudity here, some of it unnecessary, and usually focusing on young teen girls. Based on this and some of his other films, it wouldn't surprise me if Larry Clark had a bit of a perverted streak. However, that aside, he has done some damn good films, and this is one of them.
It is a very stark film and I guess it has something to say about how one bad decision, (and it is a bad one), can ruin your whole life - not that these out of control teens seem to have a lot going for them to start with, and this is a true story. Bloody hell, more reasons to never have kids. Ever.
The cast are really effective here. Michael Pitt, as always, excellent. Bijou Phillips and Rachel Miner also good (Lisa is beautiful bit kind of scary as well here). What makes this story conflicting is that the guy who was killed really isn't a nice guy. He had beaten and raped both these girls, as well as beaten his best friend. (Nick Stahl was a great choice for the "Bully" - he has kind of a creepy quality). So you kind of do want to see the back of him, while at the same time having to acknowledge that his death was a tragedy and there had to be better ways to deal with his behavior. Larry Clark has been very clever here as he doesn't play any of these characters for sympathy especially. You don't get much of a background story on any of these people. He just films their actions, and leaves it to the viewer to decide who is right and wrong.
Very good film, but, as with a lot of films I have rated highly, will not be for everyone.
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

November 21, 2010
The only thing which rescued any of this is that it is 'based' on a true story. The absolute lack of substance in these people's lives translates to a lack of substance in the film. Maybe that's what the director was trying to portray, but it just came across as another rich/wild kids with no direction taking too many drugs etc a la so many other films. In the end - over the top & tedious. AND, quite frankly, the majority of the time I felt like I was watching a meaningless porno. sheesh!
Conner R

Super Reviewer

June 8, 2010
Extremely deranged and brave at the same time. There's not very many movies about killing your best friend, there's no need to when this is done so realistically. A great cast and surreal visuals from Larry Clark make this memorable and unique. The subject matter is touchy enough, but when you add that with all the little details it becomes even more scary.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 23, 2009
This is Larry Clark's best film, not Kids! It?s still pretty disturbing though and it?s been rightfully said, ?This isn?t realism, it?s exploitation?
Nani V

Super Reviewer

March 23, 2008
Fuckin good film.
Dr Blood  

Super Reviewer

July 3, 2007
I enjoyed this almost as much as "Scum". There's just something about movies that show really messed up kids that sums up exactly what we all think and, dare I say it, fear about them. I'm not sure if I would count this as a horror film but it's certainly very disturbing.
deano
deano

Super Reviewer

February 20, 2007
I was surprised as the first time about a group of reckless 20-something youths murdered one of them was true. This fact-based drama is as tawdry and exploitatively sleazy as the tragedy itself.
Michael S

Super Reviewer

February 28, 2007
Uncompromising, disturbing, and true.
Danny R

Super Reviewer

April 4, 2010
A powerful, brutal and unnerving drama based on a true story expertly directed by controversial photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark in his feature debut. About a group of amoral and sexually promiscuous high school kids who plan to murder one of their own, a heartless bully named Bobby Kent, played superby by Nick Stahl who is the college bound golden boy of the group and is also a repressed homosexual and sadistic rapist that loves to torment and sexually abuse them, especially his handsome, slow-witted best friend Marty Puccio who he has bullied since childhood and has a homoerotic, sadomasochistic relationship with, he is played brilliantly by the late Brad Renfro who delivers a sensitive and realistic performance, he captures Marty's pain and the simmering rage just beneath the surface as the frequent victim of emotion and physical abuse at the hands of the cruel and self-loathing Bobby, he makes Marty have phone sex with older men for money and further humilates him by also making him dance on stage at a gay strip club so patrons can stuff bills into his shorts, even Marty's new girlfriend Lisa, well played by Rachel Miner is not safe from Bobby's abuse, one day while having sex with Marty she is attacked, beaten and raped by Bobby who storms into the room knocking Marty off of her with a thick leather belt, even Lisa's best friend Ali, played excellently by Bijou Philips has also been viciously raped by Bobby while he makes her watch a hardcore gay porn video. Lisa who is fed up with the way Bobby treats Marty and the sexual abuse she and Ali have endured by him, comes up with the idea to kill him as a way to solve everyones problem, they lured him to the Everglades wetlands where he is stabbed and savagely beaten to death. Intriguing supporting performances by Michael Pitt, Kelli Garner, Daniel Franzese and Leo Fitzoatrick. Intense and absolutely riveting the film contains full-frontal nudity, graphic sex, graphic violence and non-stop profanity. Note: the film's young star the talented Brad Renfro was one of the hottest teen idols of the 90s, and was discovered at the age of 10, making his impressive film debut in "The Client" which starred Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones, he suffered from addiction problems in his teens and early twenties which hampered his career, sadly he died of an accidental heroin overdose on January 15, 2008, at the age of 25. Highly Recommended.
Mike T

Super Reviewer

March 21, 2007
When I first viewed this film, I hated it. I thought it was offensive, nasty and unnecessary. I was compelled to watch it again, mainly because I've developed a big liking for Michael Pitt, and I'm very glad that I did. Despite the extremely cinematic presentation of the characters and their dilemmas, there is certainly a tone of brutal honesty here that is scarcely matched. The performances are all magnificent and sensitive. Michael Pitt, in a charismatic and unsettling supporting role, stands out with his manic energy and uniquely intriguing acting style.
Duncan R

Super Reviewer

January 23, 2008
A powerful movie. Very hard to watch (hence, the low, probably unfair rating I gave it), but worth seeing at least once, if you can stomach it...
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