(director/writer: Paul Andrew Williams; cinematographers: Vanessa Whyte/Ben Chads; editor: James Taylor; music: Raffertie; cast: Neil Maskell (Bull), Adam Xander Angelides (Beardy’s son), Ivy Amelia Angelides (Beardy’s daughter), David Hayman (Norm), Elizabeth Counsell (Marge), Lois Brabin-Platt (Gemma), Jason Milligan (Marco), Henri Charles (Aiden), Kevin Harvey (Gary), David Nellist (Clive), Tamzin Outhwaite (Sharon); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Dominic Tighe, Sarah Gabriel, Marc Goldberg, Leonora Darby, Mark Lane: Signature Films; 2021-UK)
“It comes to life by a hypnotic brute force performance by Neil Maskell.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A violent gangland revenge film from Brit filmmaker Paul Andrew Williams (“London to Brighton”/”The Cottage”), his first film in nine years. It comes to life by a hypnotic brute force performance by Neil Maskell and the magical way Williams keeps things moving along in such a naturally brutal way.
Bull (Neil Maskell) was once a badass feared mob enforcer with a quick temper. He returns home to his place in rural England after being betrayed by his gang. He disappeared for ten years without a trace when they set his trailer on fire trying to kill him.
We learn that the crime boss he works for, Norman (David Hayman), has a grown daughter Gemma (Lois Brabin-Platt) that Bull is sweet on and they have a child named Aiden (Henri Charles), that Bull’s crazy about. The trouble is the boss doesn’t want his muscle man for his daughter and that’s why Norm’s goons lit Bull’s trailer on fire.
This simple (or you may say) slight tale, is tightly shot with a taut script, as it spans several time periods through flashbacks.
Things go increasingly tense when Bull returns and begins to exact his vengeance by cutting off the arm of one thug, on another he uses a meat cleaver to chop of his fingers.
The menacing Bull wavers from being either unhinged or just quietly seething, as he gets even with his old gang one by one, and we can look forward to see how in the end Norm will fare.
The dark thriller makes no pretense to be anything but a revenge B-film, but one that points out that even a bad guy can dearly love his family.
Bull made its world premiere at Fantasia International Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 10/18/2021 GRADE: B