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Bully (2001)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
Genres:
Drama, Juvenile Delinquency Film, Psychological Drama
Director:
Larry Clark Larry Clark
Starring:
Brad Renfro Brad Renfro
Bijou Phillips Bijou Phillips
Rachel Miner Rachel Miner
Nick Stahl Nick Stahl
Michael Pitt Michael Pitt

6.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: April 17, 2007
From the same visionary director who brought us "Kids" and "Another Day In Paradise" comes, probably, his most disturbing and cautionary tale, the raw and real "Bully". Released in 2001, "Bully" was immediately controversial due to its graphic depiction of a group of kids with no morals, no values, and even less direction. Larry Clark, who has never shied away from showing us the underbelly of the youth culture, tackles that material head on in a way that was only perfected last year with the amazing "Alpha Dog", my favorite film of 2007, thus far. "Bully" paved the way for that film, and deals with very much the same subject matter. But, whereas "Alpha Dog" was about a situation that got out of hand, the events in "Bully" were pre-meditated and far more sinister in nature.

Marty Puccio (Brad Renfro) and Bobby Kent (Nick Stahl) are best friends and do everything together. The only problem is that Bobby treats Marty like garbage. In fact, Bobby treats everyone like garbage. Bobby think he's the cock of the walk and has a superiority complex with everyone he knows. When Lisa Connelly (Rachel Miner) moves in, she starts persuading Marty to think for himself and stop following Bobby's orders. This is also added intensity by the inclusion of Ali (Bijou Phillips) and Donny (Michael Pitt) into the group, two characters that are far more violent than the usually meek Marty. The friends eventually hatch a scheme to lure Bobby out to the swamp and then murder him, exacting their revenge on someone they perceive to be pure evil. They enlist the help of a local 'hitman' (Leo Fitzpatrick), who has about as much idea of what he's doing as a river rock. What happens is an event that is both shocking and terrifying, as everyone reveals their true nature in a stunning act of violence.

What makes "Bully" work so well is the realism. These kids are portrayed with zero sympathy. You're not supposed to like any of them. By the end of the film, the only character you find yourself caring about is the dead one, the one you have been brought up to despise. By the end of the film, you realize that the villain is actually the victims, and the killers are, of course, the villains. These kids have no remorse for what they do and they live life with no rules, no adults and no future. Seeing as how this is all based on true events, it's terrifying to think that there are probably so many young people out there who fit these descriptions -- aimless, pointless kids who run amuck and cause as much damage as possible before finally landing in prison for the rest of their lives.

The scene at the swamp is one of the most powerful scenes you're likely to see any time soon. It shows how cold and distant these kids are, as well as show how little compassion they all possess. No normal human being should be able to inflict this kind of pain on another human being. It shouldn't be possible. "Bully" shows us that it is possible and that it might happen more easily than we think. All someone had to do in this film was suggest the idea of murder and everyone latched onto it rather quickly, as if it was just a walk in the park. "Bully" is a fine film and Larry Clark's best overall work. It sank into obscurity when it hit video and very few people have even seen it, to this day. It's certainly a film that deserves an audience. 9/10.
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 04/17/2007, 03:11 PM
This is in my top 5 favourite movies ever. Seeing it when I was still in High School probably really affected how I took this movie in. *tear* I was bullied as well. 10/10. Excellent, excellent movie.
Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg #2: Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg - added 04/19/2007, 08:26 AM
Larry Clark sure does a great job creating a raw portrayal of these dreadfully absent-minded teens. With his showcased films like this, Ken Park, and Kids, it makes me wonder how/why he made that crummy piece of junk Wassup Rockers.
8.7/10
grain of sand #3: grain of sand - added 04/19/2007, 12:52 PM
great movie, fitzpatrick is perfect in his role, I've known to many kids like him.
Ginose #4: Ginose - added 07/16/2007, 02:02 AM
True to ONE thing and only that: Larry Clark makes some horribly fucked-up movies that are, somehow, completely acceptable. I suppose in his disturbing displays he still manages to keep his movies... well... real. 9/10
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