“History is a rock: can’t swim if you’re holding it.” I like this quote from the new film Bullet Head. Many times, I’ve seen people, both real and in fiction, who cannot move on from some past event and it is brutal for them; at least one example is in this film. There’s a few good, quotable lines like this. In addition, the film features great stars, including a dog, who I think had more screen time than the “villain” (Antonio Banderas).
The film follows three criminals hiding out in a rundown storage facility after a robbery went wrong. Unfortunately for them, the warehouse is not empty. It is occupied by a vicious dog who is clearly no stranger to trouble, which was fairly obvious thanks to an opening segment that follows the dog’s POV from a van to a fighting match with other dogs (bit weird seeing a dog’s POV, but interesting start). When not being chased by or hiding from the dog, the three humans reminisce, with the aide of flashbacks, about dogs of their pasts. Some stories are heartwarming, while others are heartbreaking.
It is very much a dog centric film. Though to say it is for dog lovers might be a stretch, because there is a lot of implicit cruelty that might be hard to watch/hear. Being a “cat person”, I was rather neutral about most of the dog scenes, though I did feel some dismay at the harsher scenes (for example, the younger criminal’s flashback, his father’s reaction when he discovers the young lad has been hiding a dog in their shed).
There is also a crime story threaded through the film. In addition to the dogs, we have John Malkovich, Adrian Brody, and Rory Culkin running through the warehouse or telling tales of past “jobs” or dealing with their personal demons (hence the quote with which I began). Eventually, they stumble upon something hiding in the warehouse that will bring trouble if they come face to face with the films antagonist, Antonio Banderas, who apparently also uses the facility as a hideout.
Overall, I thought it was a decent film, even with dogs and a “criminals are the protagonist” storyline. The actors play their parts well, believable. There is also a nice nod to other actors that have been in similar, arguably better, crime thrillers. Like I stated earlier, some scenes might be tough for dog lovers, but the heart of the story is pro dog and probably meant for “dog people”.
**Opening in Select Theaters Nationwide including NY & LA on Friday, December 8th**