Review: Adrien Brody and company power well-crafted ‘Bullet Head’
A meh title belies a gripping and resourceful crime-thriller in writer-director Paul Solet’s impressive “Bullet Head.”
It’s the kind of edgy, offbeat, well-executed B-movie that in the past may have found its niche in action houses, drive-ins and the occasional gutsy art venue, but these days could simply get lost in the video-on-demand shuffle (its token day-and-date theatrical run aside.)
Intrepid viewers who seek this one out will discover an often edge-of-your seat ride involving a well-drawn trio of small-time thieves — the resilient Stacy (Adrien Brody, excellent), the philosophical Walker (John Malkovich) and young junkie Gage (Rory Culkin) — who find themselves stuck in a cavernous warehouse after a botched heist.
The twist: The place is also the site of a dog-fighting enterprise run by the dangerous Blue (Antonio Banderas). And, as bad luck would have it, a killer Presa Canario named De Niro is roaming the premises. Think “Cujo” with criminals.
As a perilous dog-and-mouse game ensues, Solet packs his script with tension, dimension and several vivid flashbacks recalling the characters’ seminal encounters with dogs. Cool camerawork too.
Although Solet, an ex-animal trainer, is an admitted dog lover, much of the canine-related mayhem — composed of both sound and fury — is tough to experience. Still, De Niro is afforded a climactic moment of redemption that’s powerful and brutally poignant.
Rated: R, for violence, bloody images, language, some drug use and nudity.
Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Playing: Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood; also on VOD
It's a date
Get our L.A. Goes Out newsletter, with the week's best events, to help you explore and experience our city.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.