Photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark, who made a controversial feature debut with the disturbing drama Kids, returns with another disquieting look at amoral and sexually precocious youth. Bobby (Nick Stahl) is a high school student… More Photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark, who made a controversial feature debut with the disturbing drama Kids, returns with another disquieting look at amoral and sexually precocious youth. Bobby (Nick Stahl) is a high school student growing up in southern Florida in the early '90s. Bobby is also a borderline psychotic; he frequently lashes out with brutal violence against those around him and especially enjoys humiliating his best friend Marty (Brad Renfro). While Bobby professes to hate and fear homosexuals, he goads Marty into performing phone sex with men, makes Marty and his friends watch hardcore gay porn films with him, and may have sexually abused Marty. But Marty is hardly the only victim of Bobby's abuse; Bobby has sexually assaulted Marty's girlfriend Lisa (Rachel Miner) and more than once has barged in on the couple while they were making love. Lisa's best friend Ali (Bijou Phillips) has also been raped by Bobby, and he has mistreated nearly everyone in their circle of friends. One night, Marty, Lisa, Ali, and several others decide Bobby's cycle of abuse must stop. But their solution is as ugly as the problem -- the teens stab Bobby, slit his throat, crush his head with a baseball bat, and throw his body into the bay, where the remains will be eaten by alligators. Bully is based on a book by journalist Jim Schutze, which recounted the facts of the 1993 murder of Bobby Kent, who after years of abusing his friends and classmates, was killed by seven of his acquaintances in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. As with Kids, Larry Clark's startlingly graphic depiction of sex, violence, and drug use among teenagers crossed the boundaries of what the MPAA could permit in an R-rated film, and the picture's distributors chose to release the film without a rating.
Consensus: With its lingering shots of naked teenage bodies, Bully feels more sordidly exploitative than realistic.