Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 24
  2. Negative: 1 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Feb 17, 2012
    It's Schoenaerts' magisterial presence that carries the film. In between bursts of convincingly horrific violence (including a fight in an elevator that makes Ryan Gosling's in "Drive" look like a schoolyard tiff), Schoenaerts also shows himself capable of moments of great subtlety and delicacy.
  2. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Feb 15, 2012
    Bullhead is well-plotted, with a powerful ending, but its most brutal scene comes early, explaining why for Schoenaerts, life has been one long wince.
  3. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Feb 16, 2012
    An intense, shattering film, a confident and accomplished, punch-in-the-gut debut by Belgian writer-director Michael R. Roskam that starts out like a thriller and turns into a disturbing tragedy in an unlikely and unexpected key.
  4. 90
    The actor literally takes the metaphors of his bull-headed character to the limits and is never less than believable or mesmerizing.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. Feb 18, 2012
    It's an outstanding film. The lead character is so damaged, and you develop such sympathy for him. The trailer led me to believe he'd be some monster, but the flashbacks to his youth are uniquely heartbreaking, and you come to truly feel for the guy as he's doing his best to live a quasi-normal life given his circumstances. The supporting characters are fantastic. Even some stabs at light humor within the very heavy storyline are effective. The cadence of the film is right on the money. Full Review »
  2. Feb 23, 2012
    Very good movie. Starts as a rural crime flick then subtly turns into an intense character study. Great performances by the lead actors. Don't miss it, this is what cinema should be: a movie that leaves you thinking for hours about what you just saw. Full Review »
  3. Feb 17, 2012
    What could have been a very interesting character study on the things that mature us and make us men, is inevitably distracted by a relevant and interesting sub-plot involving treating cattle with illegal growth stimulants in the gangster underworld. The story gets lost in the plot, though the acting is worth the price of admission, and the direction at times is shows an amazing amount of empathy and fear. This good film could have been an instant classic with another script rewrite, but it's still a worthy contender for Best Foreign Language film, though it'll inevitably lose to "A Separation". Full Review »