Before this film I had no idea who Jeymes Samuel was but I can safely say that he has immediately placed himself on my “favorite directors” list. With a previous western under his belt, his vision on the genre goes unmatched. Hollywood could truly stand to take a note from his idea of cinematography. No frame is wasted and no shot is pointless in this film. Each character has their close-up and grand arrival. Main characters are introduced in the only way a major player should be introduced- flamboyantly. From holding up trains, to musical numbers or just a good old fashioned robbery, Samuel made sure to singe the memory of these characters into the minds of viewers with just their first scenes.

The story, also by Samuel, is a straight-forward western stock with shootouts, a train heist and the essential love story. One thing that is missing from this well-played timepiece is the “n-word”. A very brief interaction between Cherokee Bill (LaKeith Stanfield) and Treacherous Trudy (Regina King) addresses the word as many wish they could currently. Samuel has gone on record saying that he wishes other directors that do these timepieces (here’s looking at you Quentin) don’t have to use the word either. It’s a breath of fresh air to not have to sit through two hours of demeaning language.

The acting is a literal chef’s kiss. Each star brought exactly what they knew their character needed. Jonathan Majors who plays Nat Love proves that he is the breakout star of this generation, yet again. Some of Regina’s most prolific moments are those where her character doesn’t even speak a word. Personally, I think this is some of LaKeith’s best acting to date as it’s his first time in an antagonist role. His duel at the end of the film with other fan favorite Jim Beckworth (played by RJ Cyler) pits two of the movie’s most liked characters against each other and shows viewers the true difference between heroes and villains.

The film has been met with some problematic accusations, however. The fake place known as Twitter has been in uproar over the casting of Zazie Beetz as Stagecoach Mary. Mary was a heavier dark-skinned Black woman whereas Beetz is a much smaller, much lighter Black woman. It is indeed important to keep colorism in mind when presenting a work of art to the world and the concerns are valid. However, before the film even starts, it is stated that this film is purely fictional. Many of the characters are used only for their name and not their likeness. Cherokee Bill, in real life, was a white passing Native American man and Rufus Buck never lived past the age of 19. So if he were going for a more historically accurate film then both Idris Elba and LaKeith Stanfield would be out of a job and I don’t think any of us want that.

All in all, the film is a true delight and joy to watch. Stacked with gripping dialogue, beautiful characters with relatable motivations and well developed tension, there is no reason why anyone can’t enjoy this film. Hopefully this isn’t the last we see or hear from The Bullits.



Featured Image obtained from IMDB