"Inspiring Drama Marred by Negative Content"
What You Need To Know:
BULL moves too slowly, but viewers will enjoy BULL’s scenes of people riding bulls. These action-packed scenes help energize the plot. Also, newcomer Amber Havard delivers a great performance as Kris. The movie does an excellent job depicting her impoverished environment. This enhances the viewer’s compassion toward this wayward teenager. Eventually, Kris turns to Abe, a deeply flawed Christian man who helps her turn around her life. Despite this, BULL contains some foul language, sexual immorality, brief nudity, and examples of teenage substance abuse. Also, the Christian characters in BULL don’t always live up to their faith.
BULL is a drama about an injured rodeo clown in Texas who takes a troubled teenage girl under his wing. BULL moves too slowly, but some strong acting and exciting rodeo scenes make up for that. The movie has a mixed worldview containing positive Christian content combined with moral and immoral elements, including foul language, sexual immorality, brief nudity, and teenage substance abuse.
A white teenager named Kris, taken care of by her grandmother, quickly finds company with other teenagers who party. Her friends all want to give her drugs and convince her to sell drugs as a way to make a living. Kris lies to them and says that Abe Turner, a black man living down the street, is her uncle, so they break into Abe’s house to have a party.
The next day, Abe comes home to find his house has been trashed. The authorities force Kris to help Abe with errands at his house and at his work. Abe lets Kris fix the chicken coop he has as part of her making up for breaking into his home, and the two form a friendship. Realizing that Abe is recovering from an injury as a rodeo clown, Kris is quick to help. Abe takes her to the place where he trains young bull riders, and she quickly gets involved in that lifestyle.
Kris finds footage of Abe’s former bull riding years and goes to watch him in action. Soon, she wants to learn riding just like Abe. It’s apparent Abe is the only positive influence in her life. Her mother, Janice, is in jail and won’t be leaving anytime soon after she assaulted a guard. Kris turns to a drug dealer to help her make money, but when those drugs fall out of the bag and kill all the chickens in the coop, she realizes she doesn’t want to do anything that will harm Abe again, and she leaves her life of drug dealing.
Although BULL isn’t overtly Christian, there is definitely a Christian overtone. Abe and his friends pray before every time he gets into the ring. He puts clown makeup on his face and puts two crosses on each side. His other buddies have crosses on their wardrobe. Christians will be inspired by this movie to see the good in people, especially in the lives of teenagers. Christians may even be inspired by this movie to find a teenager with whom they can forge a friendship and help in tangible ways.
Having said this, there is definitely a hypocritical view of Christianity in BULL. Abe is a good person, but swears, has unmarried sexual relations, drinks, and smokes. Yet, there are a couple of scenes of him praying or drawing crosses on his face with his rodeo clown makeup. Thus, many Christians who watch this movie may feel it’s a mockery of Christianity, and, due to the portrayal of a Christian who says one thing and does another, they may be right. It’s obvious, however, that Abe is having enough of a positive influence to make Kris turn from her drug dealing ways and turn to Abe as a friend.
The cinematography is good. It demonstrates the poverty of Kris and her family. Set in San Antonio and smaller areas of Texas, dilapidated houses are prevalent. Besides the arenas where Abe rides the bulls, there isn’t much else shown. This can create an overwhelming sense of despair and hopelessness for viewers. All of the scenes depicting a poorer part of Texas, as well as a couple of scenes of Kris going to see her mom in jail accurately depict a hopeless life without Christ. Robert Morgan delivers a great performance of an injured former bull rider who’s still trying to find his place in that world. Amber Havard, with her first role as Kris, steals the show. As a teenage girl with no real support group around her, she takes the viewer on a compelling journey.
Despite the movie’s Christian overtones, BULL is not clean and wholesome. Foul language is prevalent, but not constant, among both the Christian and Non-Christian characters. BULL also contains some sexual immorality, brief nudity and teenage substance abuse. These negative elements pile up and make BULL unacceptable viewing.