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  • Bully
    • Bully
    • Runtime:113 min
    • Release Date:2014-08-22 09:56:36
    • Director: Larry Clark
    • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Bully
Auhtor:

   

Watching "Bully" was one of the more agonizing, repulsive experiences
of my time as an avid film-goer. Right from the unasked-for
pornographic vulgarism of its opening few seconds, I detested every
single tasteless, offensive moment of it. When it was all over, and I
hadn't enjoyed or been fascinated or involved or interested or liked a
single moment of it, it sunk right down onto my list of the ten worst
movies I've ever seen. But what astonished me the most was when I
discovered that the brilliant and insightful critic Roger Ebert, whom I
admired and I still admire greatly to this day, awarded it his highest
honor of four stars and called it a bizarre masterpiece. His costar
Richard Roeper, whom I also admire as a movie critic, presented it with
equal praise. But what was more astonishing to learn was that a vast
array of other people – other people with taste and culture – liked
this movie an awful lot. I've read many reviews in defense of the film
about how it was based on real circumstances and a real-life murder,
and that its director Larry Clark was trying to make a point about how
drugs and bad company can twist the younger generation into sick,
wicked, reprehensible miscreants. But you know what? That most
certainly does not make it pass for a good movie.

"Bully" is crammed end-to-end with repulsive images and dialogue, right
from the beginning where our protagonist tells somebody on the phone to
make oral contact with his genitals. What follows after this are many
vulgar, sickening moments of bad dialogue, and countless moments where
adolescents strip naked and sweat the sheets before our very eyes. And
this happens over and over and over again, sometimes scene-after-scene.
I have always been of the opinion that sex scenes are a complete waste
of time in movies and "Bully", if I may say so, rectifies my statement.
What's worse, moments like these don't seem to stand up for the
director's supposed intentions, as they will, in my opinion, turn on
the audience instead of warning them. What will also do so is the
movie's awful methods of making young women seem subhuman by treating
them more as sex objects. Of course, when a young man is naked in the
movie, we don't see anything of him from the waist down, but we get
full body shots of Rachel Miner and other women and the camera wanders
up and down their flesh and private parts, treating them as flesh and
blood without hearts, feelings, or respect. This seems more encouraging
to the concupiscent members of the audience than foreboding.

The movie prefers to drag on with moments like these instead of
focusing on the motivation of the characters to murder Bobby Kent,
played with charisma by Nick Stahl. During its scenes of gratuitous sex
and drug use, it ignores and throws away the fact that these kids want
to murder Bobby, and as a result, the movie does not have any kind of
primitive purpose. Was that because we were supposed to get in the
shoes of the weed-smoking characters? That's not a good idea to begin
with and I did not follow them at all. Nor did I learn anything except
how vile and ugly an exploitation film can be if done wrong. Very
wrong.

And what's more depressing is that "Bully" is not even a very good
movie on a technical level. Clark's directing and editing style is
choppy and static, using his longer takes when examining naked female
bodies as though searching gemstones for a blemish, and quicker takes
when trying to expose plot information. And then there is that
terrible, terrible moment when the camera spins like a top several
times in the middle of a circle of characters. It's rare when the
180-degree camera rule is broken where it works, and here it is broken
several times and never works. Were we supposed to feel like we were
high on drugs like the characters? Gee, what a tactful and goodhearted
decision. And then there is the movie's climax, which is edited so
badly and shot so badly that it looks like a couple of kids shot it
with a home video camcorder and edited it by shooting in sequence.

The performances by the cast of young talented actors and actresses are
surprisingly good, but even they are not really redeeming qualities of
the movie. Everybody in this movie is vulgar and stupid and
reprehensible and I could not get involved in any kind of way, not even
to a certain degree, as hating them as villains. And I feel sorry,
truly sorry for Rachel Miner and the other cast members who were
stripped naked and had their bodies exploited by the camera over and
over and over again. The bar was lowered long before "Bully" was made
with exploitation films, but it pushes the bar even lower, I say,
because it has no real goal. It's just an ugly, terrible film without
any redeeming qualities, no taste, no sense, no timing, no nothing.
It's just one unendurable minute after another. It's just treacherous,
bad film-making. It's fair to say that I hated this movie as much as
I've hated any bad movie I've ever seen. Just because it's based on
real events and tries to say something does not make it a good picture.
Seldom before have I ever wished a movie would just stop with a
dead-end and finish its running time with a blank, noiseless screen.
You want to see a movie that looks similar, but is brilliant? See
Stanley Kubrick's insane but fascinating "A Clockwork Orange", which is
also maniacal and out of the ordinary, but clarifies its intentions and
does it with brilliance. This is nothing but a bag of vile, tasteless
garbage and I hope I never have the displeasure to see it again.

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