'The Bull' is a character-driven drama set in poverty-stricken rural USA. The film explores the relationship between an ex-rodeo champ (Saul) and a teenage girl (Devin). Devin and Saul's community is on its last legs, but when a national rodeo competition arrives in town with a promise of big cash prizes, Saul knows that he needs a young rider to compete for him. After Saul attempts to persuade the young men of the community, it is only Devin who remains up for the challenge. He reluctantly allows her to compete but has little hope of her winning "a man's sport". Yet, Devin rides the largest and toughest of all the bulls for longer than Saul ever did in his prime. When Devin returns to Saul with news of her success and money for him, Saul is mean, drunk and bitter. But she refuses to be broken by his insults and stays with him, comforting him through the night. 'The Bull' is about a man struggling to deal with the loss of his power in a changing world. It is about the resilience of a new generation and finding hope for the future.
The main focus of 'The Bull' is the character of Saul as depicted in Samuel 17 and 18. Saul is a man desperate to maintain the safety of his people. Yet he is rigid and has little faith. When David offers to fight Goliath, Saul replies "You are only a young man, and he has been a warrior since his youth." Then when Saul is out of danger, after Goliath is killed and the Philistine army has fled, Saul remains cold and suspicious of David, ultimately attempting to kill him in Samuel 19. Even though his future is saved by David, it seems Saul feels emasculated. In Samuel 18, Saul berates David's successes on the battlefield: “They have credited David with tens of thousands,”... “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” By narrowing the story down into the relationship between an older man and a young woman; Devin and Saul, we can explore this theme in more depth. The macho world of the rodeo is a perfect environment to explore the intimate, contradictory emotions that Saul feels, and the struggle of a young woman to show compassion in the face of his aggression and rejection.