‘It’s not shit!’ says writer-director Paul Andrew Williams about his astonishingly brutal revenge thriller, ‘Bull. And he’s right because as it is ‘Bull’ turned out to be one of the best films of 2021 ending up as such on our own Top Ten films of the year list. Starring Neill Maskell in the title role he’s an enforcer for a low rent thug Norm (an equally chilling David Hayman) whose suddenly appears having mysteriously disappeared 10 years previously and returns own the proverbial roaring rampage of revenge wanting to know what has happened to his son that his estranged wife got custody. What follows is savage with a gut punch of an ending (read our review HERE).
With a low budget and shot in just 18 days under restrictive covid lockdown regulations Williams far exceeds what might be expected under such circumstances. Partly inspired by a time when Williams worked in a pub where council employees such as bin men worked very early shifts usually finished by late morning and then spend the rest of the day in the pub embroiled in drinking and dodgy deals for the rest of the day before they did it all again tomorrow. It’s this world of low rent black market enterprise that was probably unlikely to have bee legal and is that which David Hayman plays as Norm who has his hand in a range of shady businesses none of which makes him the sort of money that he dreams. Hayman is as scary as his sidekick Bull and the violence when it comes is visceral and shocking although there is a scene where Norm intimidates an elderly woman which is made even more ominous by the film makers having cut one excrutiatingly painful shot for the scene making it even more of an unnerving watch. In fact Hayman only came to play the role extremely late in the day when the production’s original choice dropped out at the last moment. It’s difficult to imagine anyone else but Hayman playing the role so effectively.
But Bull is very much Maskell’s film appearing in nearly every scene as a cold unapologetic man on a mission of revenge but equally a father just wanting to know what has happened to his beloved son. How far would someone go for their child is what is at the heart of Bull. The answer is frighteningly far.
This is a Second Sight disc who have a pedigree in treating their releases with reverence adding bonus features that enhance he film and here there are several short featurette’s with director and producer Dominic Tighe (himself also an actor) and Leonara Darby ( who also produced actress Ruby Stokes starrer ‘A Banquet’) but best of all is the commentary with Paul Williams and Neil Maskell. Like director S Craig Zahler’s films Williams also features unflinching violence and there are moments here to make you wince but Bull has an ending that you don’t see coming on first viewing making the film re-watchable where the indicators and signs as to where this is going suddenly become clear making Bull one of the best British films of the past few years
Tamzin Outhwaite talked to us about Bull…..
We chatted to lead actor Neil Maskell about the making of the film…..
BULL IS RELEASED ON LIMITED EDITION BLU-RQAY ON 26TH SEPTEMBER 2022