The tape tells about a difficult time for Russia, about the nineties, when some kind of showdown took place around every corner, sometimes even with the use of firearms. Everywhere there are murders, squabbles, fights, shooters, everyone is trying to survive, and in the country real criminals seize power over most territories.
In general, ordinary people live by the same concepts. Namely, that according to the concepts of a criminal and nothing else. Even if a person is not a murderer or criminals, he still honors the “rules of the game” created by criminal gangsters. Such is life, such are the realities for everyone.
In the center of the story is a young guy, the young leader of a criminal group, Anton Bykov, performed by Yuri Borisov, nicknamed “Bull”. His family has absolutely no wealth, they live in an economic crisis and are on the verge of poverty, so the Ox has to earn money by any possible means, most often illegal, in order to provide for loved ones.
But one day, it would seem that an ordinary ordinary “shooter” in the area happens, after which Anton goes to jail. From there, the local Moscow authority rescues him, but, of course, not just like that. In return, he asks for a small favor, a very dangerous one, though. Anton, of course, agrees, because he lives by the rules, though only later he understands what chains of not the most favorable events will follow this decision. He and his family are in danger.
In fact, this is a movie about changing views in connection with any events. That is, there is the character of Yuri Borisov, “Bull”. He lives the way they live, constantly being in the center of terrible and sometimes tragic events. But he seems to like it, too. That is, at first Anton is not even against what he is doing. Yes, his goal and task is to provide and help the family. He hides behind this, but otherwise there is no feeling that he is dissatisfied with his life. The plot is constructed in such a way that the Bull is satisfied with everything, and the murders, showdowns and other rubbish are not at all embarrassed.
But over time, everything changes. As in any good film, a character changes his mind under the weight of circumstances. In this film, these circumstances come at a feast, when his mother makes a toast. “What time, people are killed on the streets just like that for no reason.” This generates in Anton’s head some thoughts about what is happening in the country. The character begins to look at the events taking place around, a little differently. And if he himself cannot change, too many things are at stake, then the people around him may well.
He starts with his brother, preventing him from entering the boxing section. Misha, his brother, is generally a good person. He studies well, went to college. For this, in fact, the Bull respects him. True, Misha has one problem: he sells drugs, he can always get a different dose. The problem with the film is that it doesn’t fully develop many situations. Misha trades and trades, no one tells him that this is bad and so on. Trading is fine!
Otherwise, the Bull continues to change. The scene in the cafe, when Anton meets with the authority of Moses, clearly speaks of this. The bull raises the stack and says a toast to democracy. True, in response to this, he receives a tirade that society does not need idealists.
And so it goes throughout the film. The bull changes and the others don’t. No matter what he says, no matter what actions he does, the world around remains the same as it was. It seems to me that this is the main message of the picture. You can change as much as you want, but you can’t change the world around you!
By the end of the picture, the Bull really changes as a character. He has bright ideas, his future is clear and it seems that everything will improve. But the problem is that the Bull changes, but not the rest. Perhaps everything will be fine with Anton’s close ones, with his brother, but with society in a global sense … We know that only 20-30 years later, that era came to naught. How long did it take! The film The Bull explores the idea of the progression of society through changes in individual character and, as it turns out, this is an extremely complex progression.
Yes, you can say that the film copies “Brother” or “Blind Man’s Buff”; that the film once again cultivates the era of the 90s and focuses on gang warfare, appealing to banal bored themes. But it’s not. Still, the movie that Akopov made has its own context and its own individual thoughts.
It seems to me that there is no glorification of that era in the film, but on the contrary. This movie shows all the horrors of that time. The viewer understands that even a kind and good hero Ox is simply obliged sometimes to do terrible things for the well-being of himself and his family. And here, indeed, not people are like that, but time is like that. And even there are people who are ready to change this time, but too many circumstances oppose them. As a result, time cannot be corrected, and people cannot be corrected. That’s the message of Bull, I think.
This is not a movie about showdowns, this is a movie about people and the time in which they had to exist and survive!