Director: Miles Warren | Script: Ben Medina, Miles Warren | Cast: Jalyn Hall (Darious), Trevante Rhodes (Porter), Shamier Anderson (Malcolm), Shinelle Azoroh (Monica), ea | Time to play: 97 minutes | Year: 2022
Bully follows teenager Darious, who visits his parents and old friends over summer vacation after spending months at boarding school. After a battle with his friends, he wanders until he meets the cool and lonely Porter. However, it turns out that Porter has a history with Darious and his parents, which creates tension. Such a story has been told countless times, but Bully it is worth it for the fantastic atmosphere that is created.
Darious is going home for summer vacation and it shows in every shot. The golden yellow glow of the sun is everywhere in the first half of the film. Scenes filmed slowly and calmly with slow music underneath reinforce the languid atmosphere that falls over many a hot summer day. If tension in the family increases, this is reflected in the use of color. The detached atmosphere of the night scenes in blue neon light contrasts strongly with the yellow warmth of the beginning.
In addition to the use of colour, the changing atmosphere is also very well represented by the camera work. At first there isn’t much to do with the characters and there is time for wide shots and interesting compositions. One of the highlights is the interesting camera angle chosen for a Ferris wheel scene. As the movie progresses, the shots also get a bit ‘boring’ because more happens with the characters and therefore more attention is paid to them. Although there are also some stunningly beautiful shots here and there at the climax.
The most used instrument in music. Bully it’s a violin The sudden “pops” of the violin sometimes contrast with the languid atmosphere of the beginning, to reinforce Darious’s sense of unease now that he is no longer at boarding school. Also, the violin connects Darious with his mother, who gives him violin lessons. Visually, the focus is on the relationship between son and father, so it is good that the relationship between mother and son is emphasized in the soundtrack, so that this relationship is not forgotten.
The script is well done. Every scene and even almost every spoken word is a beginning of something that comes back later. The exceptions to this are the few scenes with Darious and his girlfriend, but they don’t take long. Unfortunately, history is very predictable. All the big and important developments can be seen from a mile away and even in most conversations it is all too easy to predict exactly where they will go.
This unoriginal story and languid atmosphere make Bully very slow especially at the beginning. The pauses between two sentences in predictable dialogue are always just a millisecond too long. Bully it has a lot of dialogue and those milliseconds add up quickly. When the languid atmosphere gives way to a tense and distant atmosphere halfway through, the dialogues pick up speed as well, but that doesn’t make the beginning any less dull.
Bully can be seen in Disney+.