Bully - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Bully Reviews

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September 22, 2016
The most disturbing truth of teenage murders. Not since Natural born Killers have I had this feeling of regret of watching brutal Snuff film. A little too much nudity even for R rating.
June 9, 2016
I was totally rivetted to this movie. It is disturbing in a few places and unintentionally darkly humorous in others. Some of the performances are fantastic and it's rare that true event stories get reported as accurate by people involved in the real event. It's disturbing, harrowing and at times brutal to watch but it's gripping. If it's popcorn action or drama you want......then this is not for you!!
½ June 3, 2016
Simialr to KIDS by capturing a genuine vibe of astray youth in the 90's. Its dated in parts but still good enough to make you feel anxious near the end and to want to research the true story behind it.
½ May 10, 2016
A chilling teen drama made even more disturbing by its basis of a true story, Bully uses disquieting violence, a ghetto feel, tense direction and quite possibly more than anything else, an abundance of shots featuring the cast's naked bodies to deliver a slightly uneven but nevertheless terrifying glimpse into the inner world of teenage rebellion.
March 13, 2016
This movie is fearless and powerful. If you find it too hard to watch then dont watch it or use that as a criticism. This movie is suppose to be shocking. Its artistic not exploitative.
December 8, 2015
So much nudity and sex scenes...it's almost like it's a softcore porn. A friend of mine bought this movie for cheap from Blockbuster when they were going under...not worth the $3 she paid for it. I think the critic consensus pretty much nailed it.
½ October 25, 2015
Left with very mixed impressions with this one. Firstly, this is a film that does not impress on many levels. The acting, the story and the way things are handled. I never feel the characters and I'm not really entertained. Still, when the climax appear, I really like the way things happen and the way the characters react afterwords. Everything seems legit and it takes a turn that I have not seen many times before.

The story - the kids doing drugs and other crappy stuff is not that good. "Kids", by the same director, does this part a whole lot better. The music is a plus, or more like a trip down the memory lane for me. I like that. OK, with some really nice touches but also a pretty poor film overall.

5.5 out of 10 cool kids.
½ October 18, 2015
Seeing as how all of the central characters in this story are complete trash with brains the size of a puff of dust, there's really nobody to root for, nor a single reason to care about any of them. This is close to two hours of teenage exhibitionism, parading naked barely legals around with joints and cigarettes in their mouths and bottles in their hands. There are absolutely no redeeming qualities about this film, but why should there be if the people involved in the actual incident were such one dimensional, idiotic, worthless wastes of flesh? Why even tell the story? It's not like this film is trying to convey any sort of cautionary message, like in Kids (and believe me, Larry Clark tried hard to make this look like Kids 2: The Next Chapter), it's merely saying "oh, gasp, look how naughty these teens are being!" This is 100% pure sensationalistic dreck. Directorial masturbation.
Super Reviewer
August 23, 2015
Larry Clark's strikingly brutal drama which is based on actual events. 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 him. Marty 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 emotional and physical abuse at the hands of the cruel self-loathing Bobby, who 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. 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, but that of course does not end the trouble in these teenagers aimless lives. Expertly directed by Clark, the controversial photographer and filmmaker who makes an impressive feature debut with this hard hitting film. Exceptional 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, who was one of the hottest teen idols of the 90s, and was discovered at the age of 10, making his brilliant film debut in "The Client," which starred Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones, 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. A fascinating but difficult motion picture to watch, and not for all taste. Highly Recommended.
½ August 9, 2015
Raw, provocative, and surreal. A hard-hit movie to watch that portrays true evil of lost soul in a fallen world of drugs, sex, and alcohol. Is there hope?
Super Reviewer
½ July 19, 2015
If you fail to make any character likeable then nobody cares what happens to them.
May 19, 2015
I was insanely disturbing.
May 18, 2015
Director Larry Clark goes beyond this arguably exploitative material by making Bully a tense, sobering, and hard-hitting fact-based drama, getting a handful of fantastic performances from his young actors to boot
½ March 22, 2015
Disturbed.....the best way to describe the characters in this movie.Interesting from the get,a tale of revenge not well thought out.
½ March 13, 2015
Disturbing, Edgy, and contraversial, as we've come to expect from Larry Clark, although, having said that, this is one of him tamer films. This is based on a true story of a group of kids who decide to take revenge on the bully that they relucantly, but seem to have to, hang around with. Imagine finding out that the story of you sons life and death is going to be put into film by Larry Clark, whoa, that's a bit of a mindbender.
½ March 13, 2015
Aside from some really annoyingly one-note characters, and the fact that this movie at points feels more like a soft porn than a drama, Bully is a really solid, at times terrifying look into this messed up, and tragic true story that works thanks to the tension, and mood Larry Clark builds, and some really fantastic performances from the late Brad Refro, Rachel Miner, and Nick Stahl. It can feel a little sluggish at times, but the 3rd act is where the movie really starts to impress. Great ending too.
½ February 8, 2015
Superbly acted, notably by Michael Pitt, Nick Stahl, Leo Fitzpatrick & Renfro (RIP). It's bleak and at times disturbing look into the lives of a group of nihilist and tormented teens that could very well exist in our own lives. This true crime drama is a triumphant work of art by Larry Clark. Leaves you dazed and elated. A must see!
February 2, 2015
With Larry Clark's film Kids being a strange but fascinating film, his follow up on Bully sounded like an interesting experience

As viewers learned from Kids, Larry Clark has no fear with approaching edgy material. However, one key difference between Kids and Bully is the fact that Bully is inspired by a real life murder and therefore has more of a narrative to it. Unfortunately, Bully ends up retreading old ground without really making its tale an interesting one.
While Kids was a shocking depiction of the activities that contemporary youth crowds are involving themselves in, Bully fails to make the same kind of effect. Part of that is because people are expecting it, part of it is because there is more narrative in the film this time than there is characters. The problem is that the narrative in Bully is uninvolving and so it ends up feeling scattered in the same manner of Kids but without the same brutal impact. While it could have been a complex depiction of the murder of Bobby Kent and the beginning of the film really expresses the kind of hazard that he was as a person which goes on to depict how his associates found murdering him to be the only option. After a while, it goes into repetitive and shallow territory where an abundance of characters enter the film and the brutality becomes a routine for the viewer. Due to Larry Clark relying on the reality of the story to be the source of the drama, he repeats his directorial style of depicting things in a realistic manner, and this prevents him from going as far as really dramatizing things. Considering that Bully is not just a film about crime but about the characters who are involved, it has more of a complicated basis than Kids and should logically stand up higher in quality. Unfortunately, despite a sporadic collection of tense moments in the film, Bully fails to make much of an impact in the end. It starts out with promise but soon detiriorates into repetitive and familiar territory which both fails to really grasp the viewer due to its emotional distance from the situation as well as moving so slowly that the entertainment value is severly limited. The problem is simply that there is an overall feeling of emptiness in Bully. Larry Clark seems to approach the material simply with the intenion of recreating it, and in all fairness he does stage it well with a decent visual style to go with it. But the problem is that it really fails to be entertaining. For a film about a complicated murder and the sadistic nature of some people, Bully is surprisingly uninvolving. It is shallow, going in circles and failing to really capture the harsh nature of murder. While the depiction of youth violence is confronting and the rape in the film is shocking, the murder itself is rather tame and weak which is strange. Perhaps that is partially because the contemporary age of cinema trivialises death so often, but the fact that Bully puts all the emphasis on the way that the story revolves around a singluar murder and the nature of the participants means that it should really strike the viewer on some level. It just doesn't work, and once the shock and awe of the rape and assult wears off, viewers are left to wait around while the characters make small talk with the basic script of the film and fail to deliver any insight. While there are so many characters in Bully, none of them are really meaningful in any sensible manner and so there is little insight provided into any of them, and considering that the murder of Bobby Kent is depicted as being a reaction to an ongoing series of physical and emotional abuse committed by him against many other people, there was potential for Bully to be a really complicated film. Unfortunately, it fails to grasp the dark nature of its story or repeat the same effect laid down by Kids. Bully will always suffer by comparison to Kids because it does not grasp the same energetic style and originality, and while Larry Clark is not scared of going into edgy terrain as a director, he fails to succeed at bringing life into Bully. You would think that he is the ideal director for the film, but that is simply not the case. He maintains his visionary attributes with all the relentless violence and nudity still holding a place in the film, but it just isn't as powerful this time around. The entire affair feels tired and the gimmick wears off really soon. The only thing that really seems to work on any sort of consistent basis is the cast, even though they all take on characters who are reduced to very simple figures for the film.
Nick Stahl's performance in Bully is powerful. Serving as the sadistic Bobby Kent and the titular Bully, Nick Stahl takes on a role which is unexpected but most welcome. He is mercilessly aggressive towards the other characters to the point that even the viewer may feel a certain sense of intimidation from it all. He really makes a powerful impact even if his screen time is limited in the film.
Brad Renfro also does a notably good job. The former child actor steps up to the plate for raw material in Bully, and he is able to handle it really well. He shares a tense chemistry with Nick Stahl and is able to make himself an interesting presence most of the time. Bijou Phillips and Rachel Miner also contribute their part.

But despite some effective work from the cast, Bully suffers from a lack of emotional involvement which holds back the potential for the film to be striking and it suffers in comparison to director Larry Clark's previous effort on Kids which Bully seem like a tired retread of old ground.
½ September 10, 2014
Good movie but it is pretty intense. It is not something you want your kids to watch, it is dark and really pushing the emotional boundaries.
August 25, 2014
Good movie - Terminator 3 was terrible
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