The young Limburg cattle farmer Jacky Vanmarsenille is approached by an unscrupulous veterinarian to make a shady deal with a notorious West-Flemish beef trader. But the assassination of a federal policeman, and an unexpected confrontation with a mysterious secret from Jacky's past, set in motion a chain of events with far-reaching consequences. BULLHEAD is an exciting tragedy about fate, lost innocence and friendship, about crime and punishment, but also about conflicting desires and the irreversibility of a man's destiny.

Director's Statement

BULLHEAD is a crime drama about gangsters and farmers against the backdrop of the Belgian cattle hormones mafia. It's a film about friendship and loyalty, betrayal and lost innocence. It is also a film about cows and police informers, about bulls and headbutts, about West-Flanders meets Limburg. Although it is loosely based on the 1995 assassination of veterinary inspector Karel Van Noppen, BULLHEAD is not a true crime story. In the words of director MICHAEL ROSKAM, "BULLHEAD relates to the hormones mafia like Hamlet relates to the Danish royal family." Leading man Matthias Schoenaerts underwent two years of physical training and gained 27 kg to prepare for the role of Jacky Vanmarsenille, a young cattle farmer who, after a tragic event in his childhood, gets addicted to testosterone injections, turning him into a tormented muscle machine. Schoenaerts and his co-actors also worked hard at mastering the local dialects of Limburg and West Flanders. "BULLHEAD is a grotesque tragedy about fate and how our lives are sometimes determined by events over which we have no control," Roskam says about his debut film. "It is a film about people being driven to extremes. It is not about cowboys and Indians, about good or evil, but about how seemingly small events can sometimes have huge consequences for the people Involved. Their fate is also their destiny."

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Michaël R. Roskam

Written by: Michaël R. Roskam

Produced by: Bart Van Langendonck

Cinematography: Nicolas Karakatsanis

Editing: Alain Dessauvage

Production Design: Walter Brugmans

Original Score: Raf Keunen

Actor: Jeanne Dandoy, Barbara Sarafian, Tibo Vandenborre, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeroen Perceval

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2011