|Running time:||88 minutes|
|Director:||Paul Andrew Williams|
|Release date:||Not communicated|
"So, The chance to make a film again, a low-budget film again, a film in a pandemic with social distancing, masks and sanitizer. An impossibly short schedule with 3 times more locations than days to shoot in. Of course, I would jump at the chance and film it we did. Lots of first-time experiences but also lots of familiarity, I got to work with a great crew of totally gung-ho filmmakers who didn't know what they were getting themselves into. My first time of burning stuff and the first use of fake body parts for a while. Bull was a great experience and a chance to work with actors I've admired for a long time as well as people I would consider friends. I got to shoot on a fairground and witness an actor have to visit the sick bucket after every take, such was the velocity of the waltzers. I got to use a Phantom high-speed camera shooting at over a thousand frames a second. (Who says this is low-budget) I got to experience the joy of shooting from the hip, guerrilla style again. What a buzz!! I am also lucky enough to be the writer of the script so to see what was in my head on the screen and ready for people to watch is a gift. Fuck Yes is all I can say. - Paul Andrew Williams
Certainly this new edition of the Fantasia festival will have allowed us to discover a wide range of films and above all to show how genre cinema, despite the current pandemic, has not lost any of its strength of character. Bull is certainly one of the first strong films discovered in the first days of this festival that is close to our hearts. This film stands out as a brilliant horror thriller mixing perfectly English gangster film and American bloody slasher. Of course, we have already seen many revenge movies, but Bull is certainly a striking film that will hold your attention without any dead time.
From the very first minutes of the film we know that Bull will go beyond the simple framework of a violent thriller because it also brings its share of disturbing scenes. The writer and director Paul Andrew Williams (London to Brighton (2006), Welcome to the Cottage (2008), Song for Marion (2012)) takes great pleasure in blurring the lines and cleverly revisiting the many English gangster films by incorporating scenes of ultra-violence worthy of the cinematographic saga of Dirty Harry but also the film Pale Rider (1985).
Bull (Neil Maskell) mysteriously returns to his town after ten years of absence to seek revenge on those who betrayed him years ago. While many of his acquaintances thought he was dead, Bull has returned and seems to be roaming the streets on a quest to not only get revenge on many people but also to find his son Aiden. The film mixes scenes from the past and the present to better define the character of Bull who seems to have a real dark area in him. The scenes of the past will not only allow us to better understand this character but also to understand his universe and the people they meet who are far from being children of heart. We will thus reconstitute a series of events that lead to a dramatic and inexplicable outcome. Whether it is Bull's ex-wife or his father, who is the kingpin of his town and imposes his law and his conditions by systematically resorting to violence. Bull will not only have to clean up his town of this vermin, who are as dangerous as they are without a moral code, but he will also have to find a way to redeem himself.
If the film Bull can rely on an excellent casting, the actor Neil Maskell, often used to supporting roles, finally finds here a tailor-made role that imposes him as a brilliant actor as comfortable in action scenes as in pure black comedy numbers. While it could have been a simple action movie, Paul Andrew Williams also incorporates supernatural elements, especially concerning Bull's past and the fact that his return after many years defies the laws of nature. In spite of the reduced means and the current pandemic period that did not facilitate the shooting of this film, it easily exceeds our expectations and the numerous shocking scenes have nothing to send to the American slashers with a killer who seems impossible to stop.
The direction of this film makes it easily go beyond the simple violent thriller by its permanent inventiveness and the disturbing climate present throughout the story. The script is like the direction of this film, totally inspired and mastered. Each of the main characters is perfectly described as well as their relationships with the other people who gravitate around them. The confrontation between the terrifying Norm (David Hayman, as disturbing as he is patient in his role as a kingpin) and Bull makes this film one of the highlights of the Fantasia festival. As subversive as it is furious, Bull is like a roller coaster worthy of a funfair in which we remain fascinated until the last few minutes and we are totally involved in the story. The last minutes of the film will allow us to have a different look at the film we have just seen and makes it certainly one of the best horrific thrillers of these last years.
Written and Directed by Paul Andrew Williams
Produced by Dominic Tighe, Sarah Gabriel, Marc Goldberg, Leonora Darby, Mark Lane
Starring Neil Maskell, David Hayman, Adam Xander Angelides, Ivy Amelia Angelides, Lois Brabin-Platt, Henri Charles, Ajay Chhabra, Chris Coghill, Elizabeth Counsell, Jake Davies, Hélder Fernandes, Kevin Harvey, Laura McAlpine, Jason Milligan, Yassine Mkhichen, David Nellist, Tamzin Outhwaite
Music by Raffertie
Cinematography: Ben Chads, Vanessa Whyte
Edited by James Taylor
Distributed by Signature Entertainment (UK)
Running time : 88 minutes
Seen on august 10th 2021 (Fantasia screener press)