Wasted Youth

Like so many of its namesakes, Bully is a coward on the inside

Clark, however, doesn't see the characters as good kids gone bad, because he seems incapable of believing in good kids, period. Even the preteens shown on-screen drink beer and smoke. The best he can muster here is Derek (Daniel Franzese), a shy, overweight type who truly seems to care about Lisa in a way that her boyfriend does not, but his goodness manifests itself only as physical aggression against Marty when he gets too forceful with Lisa. Ultimately Derek is as complicit in the violence as everyone else.

Brad Renfro plays the Bully everyone wants to kill
Brad Renfro plays the Bully everyone wants to kill


Based on the book by Jim Schutze. Opening at selected theaters. Screenplay by Zachary Long and Roger Pullis.

Like the recent Baise-moi, Bully is a whole lot of shock and titillation trying to pretend it's saying something. Unlike the French import, however, the film has neither awareness of its own absurdity nor anything for the audience to care about in the slightest. And it's even more insidious, because very few are going to confuse Baise-moi with reality. Larry Clark would like us to believe that he's created a new-millennium Dead End Kids; in fact, he's a lot closer to a 21st-century Reefer Madness.

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