USA | 2019 | COLOR | 103 MIN. | ENGLISH
Annie Silverstein’s Bull arrives with such an assured hand, it’s easy to forget this is a debut feature. While plenty of films have been made within the milieu of a disenfranchised American working class, few have done so with such an astute observational verve that never threatens to patronize its subject. Bull’s portrait of a Kris, a white teenager, and her relationship with Abe, an aging African-American rodeo cowboy, is disarmingly empathetic, and refuses to comply with cliche or provide simple answers. With a deft hand, Silverstein and her extraordinary cast provide an absorbing portrait of an American community that is at once entirely relevant, yet forgotten, and fading fast. Without explicitly outlining a political context, Bull’s carefully realized impression of lives on the fringes soon emerges as a potent evocation of the very essence of American life as it drifts towards an uncertain future.
Review by: Jim Kolmar
Before studying film at the University of Texas at Austin, Annie Silverstein spent 10 years as a youth worker and educator, collaborating on film community projects with young Native Americans in Washington state reservations. She was co-founder and served as artistic director of Longhouse Media, an indigenous film organization based in Seattle. She debuted with the documentary March Point (2008). Bull is her first fiction feature film.