Bully (2001) starring Brad Renfro, Bijou Phillips, Rachel Miner, Nick Stahl, Michael Pitt directed by Larry Clark Movie Review

Bully (2001)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Brad Renfro in Bully (2001)

Messed Up

Marty Puccio (Brad Renfro) and Bobby Kent (Nick Stahl) had been friends for a long time so long that it had become second nature to Marty when Bobby hit him, humiliated him and did what ever he liked. When Marty started seeing Lisa (Rachel Miner) Bobby decided to help himself to her as well as her friend Ali (Bijou Phillips) who instead of having kinky sex with ended up raping her. Bobby's bullying didn't stop there and eventually these individuals had enough of Bobby's abuse and sought their revenge, a permanent revenge.

So first up "Bully" tells a true story and if you do a search on either Marty Puccio or Bobby Kent you will find information on the true story and what happened to them as well as the other characters who we meet. It is worth doing once you have watched "Bully" because plain and simple the movie is shocking and you will find you need some sort of verification of what you have watched really happened because director Larry Clark is uncompromising in his style and what he will show.

Nick Stahl in Bully (2001)

That is shall we say the issue with "Bully" because Clark doesn't hold back and the first half which is dominated by the sexual exploits of these teens seems unreal. Sex, sex, nudity, erotic videos, more sex the first 50 minutes or so is all about the debauchery of these young teenagers and their appetite for sex. It is too much and it starts to come across like director Larry Clark is trying to push things as far as he can. The knock on effect of this is that it takes the focus away from what happened and whilst during the first hour we get to see scene after scene of Bobby's bullying it feels out of balance with everything else.

As for the acting well what I will say is the young cast which alongside Nick Stahl and Brad Renfro also features Bijou Phillips, Rachel Miner and Michael Pitt certainly don't hold anything back and come across as a bunch of whackos with little respect for themselves or anyone else.

What this all boils down to is that "Bully" is an experience and Larry Clark certainly doesn't hold back in his movie making be it when it comes to style or showing scenes of sex and nudity. But for me it feels like the attempts to shock distract from the actual story telling even if the real story is shocking in itself.