Real-life tragedy lends
itself to film in 'Bully'
Starring: Brad Renfro, Rachel Miner
Lions Gate Films
By Geronimo Rodriguez
Daily Cougar Staff
In 1993, a teen from South Florida, Bobby
Kent, was murdered by a couple of his friends who were tired of being manipulated
Bully retells this account as described
in Jim Schutze's book Bully: A True Story of High School Revenge.
John Baer/Tri-Star Pictures
Brad Renfro stars in Bully,
based on a true story. Renfro stars as Marty Puccio, the bully's best friend
The film begins by debasing Kent's personality
and then follows the teenagers as they come together to commit a not-so-well-though-out
In sheer paranoia, the adolescents find
themselves trying to justify why they killed their friend.
However, the dramatic, thrilling story
isn't just about bringing to light the facts surrounding Bobby Kent's death.
It may even be fair to say
that the filmmakers merely employ true
incidents as a vehicle to dig into the minds and exploit the lifestyles
of today's teenagers.
With Larry Clark as the director, this
idea isn't surprising.
As he did in the critically acclaimed film
Kids, Clark manages to implement the exploration of young girls' bodies
in a story line.
But unlike in Kids, the disturbing, exploitative
images captured by Clark may raise questions as to their appropriateness
in the film.
How many sex scenes involving teens or
close-ups of a young girl's legs do audiences need to see in order to realize
that teens are
having sex and thinking about sex most
of the time?
If only Clark had stopped while he was
ahead, having established a sense of a teenager's reality early in the
film, his not-yet-rated film
would be easier to promote as an important,
Yes, unsettling films like Bully are worthy
films that do well at disturbing the peaceful ideas some people have regarding
Clark's directing is careless at times.
Some of Bully's shaky sequences are similar
to Roman Polanski's camera work, but not as compelling.
One sequence is simply nauseating, lacking
any means of storytelling.
Bully's raw cast does deserve merit for
sounding unrehearsed, which adds to the film's realism.
It stars Brad Renfro (Apt Pupil), Rachel
Miner (Henry Fool), Michael Pitt (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Bijou Phillips
and Nick Stahl (Disturbing Behavior) as
Overall, Bully is received best when viewed
with an open mind.
Throw out what you don't like and keep
the rest. Despite the tasteless exploitation of young people having sex,
Clark's film relays a handful
of memorable images of our youth.