Writer: Stephen Gaffney (Screenplay)
Starring: Ciaran McCabe, Kieran O’Reilly, James Ward, Aislinn Ni Uallachain, Goerge Bracebridge, Chelsea O’Connor
Plot: Karl, a sixth year student preparing to sit his Leaving Cert exams, becomes the target of a gang of bullies. With no support from his family and no friends to turn to, Karl falls victim to the psychological manipulation of a school teacher and soon turns to social media as a form of escapism where he develops an online friendship with a woman.
Verdict: Bravely Disturbing Drama
Story: Bully starts Dublin, Ireland 2012 where we meet a self harming Karl (McCabe) who is bullied at school and fails to get help from his parents. Fallon (O’Reilly) tries to push Karl into standing up for himself while making inappropriate movements towards him.
With everything getting too much social media has his bullying on but a mysterious lady Ruby (Ni Uallachain) contacts him. Karl also gets involved with Christina (O’Connor) who is closer to his age but Ruby won’t leave him alone. The problems building up in Karl’s life he is forced to see a therapist Eoin (Mason) who puts him on antidepressants.
Everything mixing together and only having Ruby to talk to leads to her pushing Karl into decision which will leave Karl’s future in question but how far can he really go.
Bully starts off like you would expect a film centred around a lone victim of bully, with no where to go or no one to turn to, which is all good because it creates Karl’s mindset for us. What the story doesn’t prepare us for is the shocking final act which you won’t see coming in any direction. I will always praise a story that shocks us because we do get so many repetitive story lines out there and this will shock you.
Ciaran McCabe: Karl is our victim of bullying from a group of guys from school, he starts self harming and being taken advantage of by a teacher, he finds friendship online with an older woman while being bought out of his own shell by a new love interest Christina. When things fall apart Karl is left to make a decision with will be questionable thanks to Ruby pushing him in that direction. Ciaran gives us a great performance and shows that he could be a name to look out for in the future.
Kieran O’Reilly: Fallon is a teacher who is taking advantage of Karl scaring him into doing things he doesn’t want to do. Kieran gives a good performance as the teacher who is will hope to get away with what he does.
Aislinn Ni Uallachain: Ruby is the woman who talks to Karl when he is feeling down before starting to take over his life making him act out of character. Aislinn gives a good performance in this role because she plays seductress really well.
George Bracebridge: Frank is Karl’s father who doesn’t want to take anything from his son and doesn’t understand the troubles he is going through, he is short tempered and a former soldier. George gives a good performance in this role showing how difficult it is for parent to deal with troubles their children are having.
Support Cast: Bully has a supporting cast that includes Karl’s concerned mother, other students from school and the bully who pushes Karl into the decision he finally takes.
Director Review: Stephen Gaffney – Stephen gives us a drama that starts off like you would expect but will leave you shocked by the end of the film.
Drama: Bully shows the effects of bullying and just where it can leave a victim with no where to turn.
Settings: Bully keeps the settings simple showing that the victim will become isolated to few location due to the effects.
Suggestion: Bully is one to check out it really is something fresh when you see where it all goes. (Watch)
Best Part: Final act.
Worst Part: Seeing the victim suffer.
Believability: The bullying side of the story is a very real problem but what follows is an extreme of it all.
Chances of Tears: No
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Oscar Chances: No
Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes
Overall: Drama that will leave you wondering just how far bullying can really go