Friday, May 3, 2013

Movie Review - Bully (2001)

Larry Clark paints another graphic and stark picture of misguided youth in Bully.  Based off of the real murder of Bobby Kent in 1993, Bully follows the destructive relationship between two childhood friends, Marty and Bobby.  After a series of abusive acts on Marty (the late Brad Renfro) and his group of friends, they decide to plot an end to Bobby's (Nick Stahl) life.

Bullies come in many shapes and sizes.  What if your bully was also your best friend?  Marty lived most of his life being intimidated, beaten, and made fun of by Bobby.  Bobby in turn would then tell Marty how much he loves him.  

Marty's friends become involved when his girlfriend Lisa (Rachel Miner) and her friend Ali (Bijou Philips) are subject to Bobby's misogyny.  Hatred and rage are the products between all the main characters.  These teenagers are all left to their own devices, and their parents are oblivious.  

After viewing Bully along with the films Kids and Ken Park, one cannot help but question Larry Clark's intentions as a filmmaker.  Even before he started directing, he had a very successful career photographing teenage runaways and drug addicts.  Is he exploiting the appeal of sex, drugs and violence among teenagers, or is it a necessary evil to shoot this content in an unflinching and unfiltered state?  Is the audience expected to be shocked for entertainment, or are they supposed to be scared straight?  Bully is effective in both ways.    

Trailer NSFW

Bully is currently available for stream on Netflix.

Rated R for for strong violence, sexual content, drug use and language - all involving teens


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