There are movies, you can forget! But then there are movies which are forgotten ! And some of these “forgotten” ones should never be forgotten… On these "forgotten ones" certainly belongs BULLET, which in my opinion is among the most sullen and tougher dramas of the recent movie history.
On paper rather sounding like a simple drug revenge flick the movie emerges as a realistic study of social environments of the streets of Brooklyn. The story is told of the offender Butch "Bullet" Stein who, after 8 years in jail, moves back in his home district as a broken man and disillusioned junkie. No support of his family, only affecting individual fates: the hopeless mother loving her sons; the father fraught with self-reproaches; the older brother a Vietnam veteran after 20 years still mentally afflicted in his posttraumatic world; the youngest rookie with artistic ambitions but no ideals. The old district, familiar neighborhood – drugs and crime, no jobs and despair wherever you look. Old friends turn to unforgiving enemies, the end is unavoidable….
Among the highlights of the movie are the actors of the Stein brothers - Mickey Rourke, Adrien Brody and Ted Levine -, the extremely realistic performance of the addiction, the perfect dull ambience in the movie and the frightening eruptions of violence. Unfortunately, and this is the main point of criticism, it doesn’t succeed to convey the profoundness. For example it doesn’t becomes clear that all ethnic groups (The Steins are Jews, Tank is Black, Paddy an Irishman) knowing each other and grew up together starting in childhood. The observant watcher may notice it in some sentences. If they had put more time in it here, it would have result in a significant more tragic look and feel of the events. Also the relationship between the brothers would have offered more material – so it’s only patchwork, partly taken out of the context of thought-provoking moments. Looking at the screenwriters the insider gets irritated: Sir Eddie Cook is an alias of Mickey Rourke (therefore no wonder that Mickey’s acting has the most time on screen), Bruce Rubinstein delivered some years later his solely further script under the alias of "Butch Stein". Especially with Rubinstein the question comes up if this guy has introduced autobiographic material into the movie? One doesn’t know it… That the movie in spite of all points of criticism, by all means is still convincing, results, besides the credible actors (Tupac Shakur as vengeful Tank has less scenes but still shows his talent) mainly of director Julien Temple. Temple coming out of the Liverpool punk-scene, was a close friend to the SEX PISTOLS put on stage some of their best known documentaries. With his longer movies he had less success, the only outstanding one is his also in the musician milieu playing ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS. But with his knowledge from experience he exactly knows how to show drug addiction at its best. All things considered a movie far behind the eventualities but anyhow belonging to one of the best drug dramas.
Compared were the rated R with the unrated version of the movie, both released in January 2003 on the US DVD from New Line Cinema.
When Butch drives the knife into the dealer’s eye only in the unrated version blood gushes out of it. In the rated R version this shot ends right before blood flows.
( 19 SF )
Gun fight between Tank’s and Paddy’s gang. Here the beginning of the shot where one of Tank’s people got killed by a shot into his head is missing. In the rated R version the blood splattering hit is missing.
( 27 SF )
Two more shots of Lester with the two girls in the compartment and a long shot of the disco.
( 133 SF )
"Who's the best looking Motherfucker in this place?" Right after this, another shot is missing of Lester with the girls and their answer: "You are.... Lester!" "Yeah".
( 103 SF )