HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Now Showing Today's Date:

The Brown Bunny

The word “controversy” has pretty much gone hand-in-hand with Vincent Gallo’s latest film, The Brown Bunny, since its Cannes screening left its audience in a shell-shocked state.

Much has already been made of the reported boos, the critical backlash, a press-fueled tiff and eventual reconciliation between Gallo and film critic Roger Ebert, and the fact that the film features a hardcore oral sex sequence in its third act. It almost seems redundant to mention them, but how does one ignore them?

At the end of the day all that really matters is how the film holds up on its own. In this case what we get is a profoundly personal and deeply affecting film that engages its viewers by referencing those moments of reflection, remorse, and perseverance that we’ve all individually experienced.

The plot centers on Bud Clay (Gallo), a motorcycle racer who appears self-sufficient at the racetrack. We watch as Bud competes in a race on his brown number 77 Honda in a very sullen and withdrawn sequence shot entirely from a fan’s perspective atop the bleacher seating, and after the race he alone loads his equipment into his van and then departs for California.

From this opening sequence it becomes apparent that is a “man without.” He is a man without a pit crew, and as the film progresses it continues to reveal more and more ways in which he is in isolation.

From this point on, the film takes a slow approach to Bud’s journey, and this is where it loses a lot of its audience in the process. In likely homage to Monte Hellman’s 1971 cult film, Two-Lane Blacktop, the film is about the journey, and about placing its viewers in that van with Bud as it crawls from state to state.

Two-Lane Blacktop focuses on the essence of travel and life on the road as it details two very silent types, James Taylor stars as the driver and Dennis Wilson is his mechanic, as they move from one drag race in search of the next. In Bunny, we watch as Bud travels from female encounter to female encounter, all the while attempting to piece together his past and why he behaves the way he does with the women he meets on the road.

He at first appears to be seeking out his next female relationship when he approaches these women, but something is preventing him from following through on these chance encounters. With each new one we learn a little bit more about Bud and we get a better view of what it is that is haunting him.

At one point early on in the film, Bud visits an elderly couple, parents to Daisy, the woman Bud loves. We learn from this encounter that Daisy has not called her parents in some time, and that Bud and Daisy have a house together in Los Angeles. When asked if they’ve had kids yet, a note of solemnity tinged with loss is evoked, implying that Daisy may be the key to Bud’s behavior.

Clocking in at a runtime of only 92 minutes, the film feels much longer due to its somber pacing. To some, this could be a bit trying, and others may argue that this is intentional and therefore essential. I happen to agree with the latter.

The film’s subtlety works on a tremendous level, offering slight implications as clues and symbols throughout the film. Gallo’s use of doorways in contrast to historical conflict is significant, and a revelation surrounding Bud’s roadside encounters is so subtle that when it becomes apparent one nearly slaps himself for not noticing this connection initially.

Fortunately film as a medium is completely subjective, so everyone will take something different from a film such as this. When Bud reaches Los Angeles, he eventually encounters Daisy, his lost love.

Their encounter is one of rigid unease, a wealth of emotions buried behind an attempt by Bud to remain stoic and unmoved while Daisy pleads for his forgiveness. To reveal much more would damage the essence of the film itself.

However, the graphic nature of their final encounter is entirely appropriate within the context of the film and the development of Bud’s character. This is not an attempt at titillation or cheap sensationalism.

The fact that the “blow-job scene” has been so widely publicized is a detriment to the film, and will likely lead to countless eager adolescents seeking out a glimpse at a hardcore scene involving Chloe Sevigny. What they will be met with instead is an artful film about introspection and soul searching, and this will likely cause frustration.

Even Gallo himself calls attention to this on the film’s posters and ads by including “Adults Only” on nearly every poster. Of course, although the film includes an “adults only” sequence, Gallo seems to be requesting that only those willing to screen this film in an adult manner be admitted.

Gallo’s reputation also works against him here. The film opens with a title card listing Gallo as the Writer, Editor, Producer, and Director of the film. A quick cruise of the IMDB credit listing for the film and you will see that he also stakes claim over nearly every other aspect of the film as well.

This is not meant to imply negativity towards Gallo in any way whatsoever. This film is extremely personal and it’s easy to understand why he would take such measures of control over these aspects of the film. However, one can see where many might interpret his ownership over the film as being an act of pompous ego.

That Gallo stars in the film and his character is the recipient of the controversial sex act only adds fuel to the argument that this film is nothing more than an exercise in self-indulgence. In that regard, there is only one guarantee with The Brown Bunny, and that is that the film is sure to polarize audiences.

Those willing to look past all of the controversy will find a deeply engaging film that is ascetically resonant and rooted in humanity from a filmmaker willing to go out on a limb at all costs. In at least one opinion, it’s well worth the journey.


Mario Anima

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites