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If you can endure a 90 minute portrait of brooding self loathing with virtually no dialog and uninspired cinematography, this film is for you. The notorious scene with Daisy is incongruous. Perhaps, I am dense, but in my view, the emperor has no clothes. To be successful, this film should have elicited a strong interest in the lead character. But in the end, you have learned little about someone who is shallow and unappealing. This film portrays the journey of a motorcyclist tormented by demons vaguely hinted at in mysterious stops he makes in route. You see that he is attracted and repulsed by women. (Cheryl Tiegs, for those of you old enough to remember her from the 1970s is perfect in what amounts to a cameo.) But his encounters with women are so fleeting and glancing that you learn little until the end of the journey. Then, what you learn is too trite to support your having endured the trip with him. I believe Vincent Gallo had a serious idea, but the idea is unrealized.
I saw Buffalo 66 long before I started posting reviews at imdb, so I haven't
written about that film but I loved it, I give it a 10, and after seeing The
Brown Bunny at the Nuart on Saturday evening, I am here to report that I
give Gallo's second feature film the same rating.
A lot of people seem to be misunderstanding this movie, or just not appreciating it, or perhaps both. There are many reasons for this, none of them valid in my estimation. The biggest protests, from what I've been reading, seem to be in the 'lack of plot' and 'vanity project' areas.
I can understand how the film would be a little slow for a lot of people, since it's basically an internal study, with none of the 'usual' mainstream (or even indy film) tactics. And in fact that's what I loved the most about the movie - how Gallo has the artistic wherewithal to be true to HIS vision of what a film can be, to how a plot of a film (and there IS a plot) can be played out in a different, less recognizable way, which leads to one of the reasons I think people are calling this a vanity project (aside from the infamous scene toward the end -- which I have to say is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to the film, once you find out what's really going on with our sick puppy Bud Clay) : because the movie doesn't follow a 'typical' set-up, requiring a bit more patience on the part of the viewer, a lot of people feel more comfortable dismissing this unbelievably profound piece of work as a 'vanity project'. In reality, I believe the opposite is true: Gallo is giving his audience more credit than they perhaps deserve, in presenting such a stark, uncompromising character study. The fact that a lot of this audience chooses not to accept him on his terms does not diminish his power and the power of this movie. Can't wait for the next one, Vincent.
I had heard about the controversy surrounding The Brown Bunny (who
hadn't?)--the feud with Roger Ebert, the graphic sex scene--so when I
received an invitation to a press screening, I jumped at the chance to
see what the trailer calls "the most controversial American film ever
made". What the trailer and all the hype didn't prepare me for was the
fact that The Brown Bunny could also be considered one of the most
original American films ever made. In a time of overblown budgets and
enormous productions with endless crew lists, Vincent Gallo has almost
single-handedly made a concise, well-thought out, conceptual film--a
poignant, touching love story. It's not often that a director's second
film is more daring than his first--money, greed and Hollywood power
seem too tempting to most and sophomore efforts usually represent the
big sell out. Not so The Brown Bunny, not so Gallo the iconoclast. He
manages to make a second film more interesting, more intimate, more
revealing and more memorable than his first. And he manages to do it
outside the system.
Gallo's instincts as a director are spot-on. Not only does he pull from Chloe Sevigny the performance of her career, he also solicits from a cast of complete unknowns and non-actors (including Cheryl Tiegs) painfully believable performances. I have always thought his talents as an actor were underrated, but surely The Brown Bunny will provide him his due as Bud Clay, a motorcycle racer undergoing a breakdown while driving across the country. Simply put, Gallo as Bud is devastating. At one point during the film, I was so tense watching him fall apart that I realized that I had been holding my breath through the entire scene. When you stop to think that he is also directing himself and directing the photography, it's that much more impressive.
I don't know how someone circumvents the Hollywood system to make a movie in this day and age, but it seems that Gallo has not only done that, but done it in a way that is memorable, haunting and visually stunning. This is a truly radical film made by a very courageous filmmaker, someone willing to tell a story, tell it honestly and suffer the consequences of his convictions. Pasolini would be proud.
Yeah, I got it. It took a torturous 1-1/2 hours to get there but I was
spared the 26 minutes more that others had to suffer through in the
Strange camera angles of pumping gas, lying in hotel rooms,urinating, eating, driving, driving, driving. Crying, hugging women wordlessly. Driving Driving Driving.
Yeah, the fellow is grieving a lost love with a flower's name, yeah, he's attracted to other women with flowers' names. Yeah he was sorta responsible for the loss of his love. B-b-b-b-ut we never know what that love was all about, was it as shallow as depicted here? You can't care about the main character, how can you. You know nothing of him.
This is one of the most self-indulgent movies I've ever seen. With a money shot at the end.
Avoid. 2 out of 10 for the Gordon Lightfoot song on the soundtrack.
In the late 90's Vincent Gallo made his debut behind the camera with
"Buffalo 66" (he also wrote it and produced it). It was a bittersweet
story about two losers that fall in love with each other. It was a kind
and so tender. So, I was really looking forward to see Gallo's next
project... and let me tell you: WHAT A DISAPPOINTING!! He's suffered
sort of an involution: once he was totally honest and now he's totally
narcissistic and pedantic. In his second film he shows us Vincent Gallo
riding his motorbike, Vincent Gallo getting' a couple of Cokes from a
drinks machine, Vincent Gallo crying because the world is too
There's no story, there's no script, there's nothing... Nothing to remark except what you all were expecting: that scene in which Chloe Sevigny gives a BJ to Vincent Gallo (of course). Well, Sevigny's skills for porno are improvable. Anyway, if you sit through "The brown bunny" just to watch that scene.. Well, you really need some love in your life!!
*My rate: 2/10
Vincent Gallo According to the credits is a man with many ( probably
too many ) talents. While I haven't seen any of his other films, this
one lacks a, direction. b, editing c, cinematography d, intelligent
script. Vincent Gallo as an actor acts well as a depressed person, but
that is all. When he brakes down with his former wife or girlfriend he
utters a sound which could be credited to a whingeing cat, but hardly
to a man which I suppose he represents. The repetitiousness of the
scenes,his portraits in the mirrors show that as a director he admires
himself as an actor, but I do not consider this as a positive.
When I watched the first scene for about 15 minutes which is a motor circle race, I thought I put in the wrong DVD about motor cycle racing. I wished that I switched it off at that point. The rest of the film I watched for curiosity only. The sex scene sticks out from the film, like his prick from his trousers. It would fit into a porno film, but not what is considered an art-house film.
Just because there is hardly an intelligent sentence in the script, and luckily there are only a few sentences in the film, it does not make it a work of art. This is probably one of the worse films I have seen in the past 50 years
I see a lot of movies, and I've seen a lot o really bad ones. The worst
of them is Oscar material if compared to this film. Never has a
filmmaker been so self-indulgent, cool wanna-be, disgustingly
megalomaniac, and completely oblivious to an audience -- an audience
left to watch a total absence of creativity -- as in this ridiculous
attempt at artistic depth and deeper meanings, supposedly hidden behind
empty images and badly written lines. Terrible, unforgivable waste of
Watching a road through a dirty windshield for hours might seem a clever metaphorical statement if you're on crack, or are as delusional as the director, who probably thinks of himself as the greatest film-making entity that ever lived.
Me? Well, those were 90 minutes of my life that I'll never have back and do something useful with -- although I wish I could.
But the truth is that it doesn't matter if a thousand people told you how despicable this movie is -- this is a movie that MUST be seen, otherwise you won't believe someone actually had the bad taste and lack of everything else (including talent and judgment) to make it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is by far the worst movie I have ever seen. Driving across country
by yourself is boring enough, but watching someone else drive across
country alone is even more boring! There was only 10 lines of dialog in
the movie. The camera angles were strange and the music was so
depressing I wanted to slit my wrists. I think what bothered me more
than the endless driving, was how these women seemed to think that he
was a "hot boy". They would just randomly go with him although he
looked and acted like a crazy person. Sane people wouldn't ask a
stranger to drive across country w/ them, especially when she's like
Although the "scene" was well hyped, if you've ever seen, given or received head, you've seen it before. More interesting to me was to find out that he just couldn't accept what happened and he was still w/ her in his mind. But I sat through 60 minutes of mindless driving for 10 minutes of an OK movie? So not worth it!
This movie is an insult to anyone passionate about the art of a good
film (basically because it's trying to be art house). If I could
compare this to other trash house art, it would be the equivalent of
Tracey Emin's 'unmade bed' (or the tent she erected in the Tate,
plastered the names of ex-lovers inside, then conned the mindless
audience that it's art) on show in the Tate gallery for X amount of
I have had no training in making a movie, but I would lay my life down (!) on saying that I could definitely knock up a better story, script it out.. and shoot the thing with more talent, than I see on display here. I honestly don't know how someone can have the balls to screen this, and proudly lay claim to it's entire development? The infamous scene with Chloe Sevigny, only left me feeling sorry for the girl, and that wasn't how I thought I would feel.. being a typical male (knowing what was coming). This wasn't due to a clever script.. like I was sorry for her character or something. No, I feel sorry for her as someone who's obviously had this conned into her ear that it's art. It's just badly fed ego crap. Don't bother.
Reviewing The Brown Bunny is a daunting task, because I feel obligated
to justify my views on a deeper level than I normally might. Giving
this movie a positive rating is difficult, in the sense that holding a
strong opinion about any controversial film is threatening. I am sure
that a lot of people were put down for praising Midnight Cowboy and
Last Tango in Paris when they were first released, because people are
touchy about sex in cinema. The issue of pornography versus art always
enters the equation with films like this, and words like "gratuitous",
"exploitive" and "tasteless" are bound to be thrown around.
When reading about The Brown Bunny, I was intrigued to discover that Vincent Gallo is the first one to argue that it is not an art film. He also admits that he uses some of the attributes of porn as a tool in his piece. In finishing his movie on such a shocking, explicit note, he employs a powerful juxtaposition to the quiet subtext preceding it. The version of the film that I saw was the 92 minute cut released in America. I have never seen the version released at Cannes, and I probably never will. According to popular opinion, that's a good thing. However, I think a lot of people are approaching this film in the wrong mindset. Anyone who sees The Brown Bunny as "that notorious blowjob movie" is not going to appreciate it on any level beyond shock value. The movie exists as it is for a reason all the painful, discomforting silence that builds up to that finale is there to amplify the overall resonance.
In a peculiarly disjointed narrative, the film follows the wandering of a protagonist named Bud Clay, although we don't know his name until close to the ending. He has brief, wistful interactions with several women, but spends most of his time alone. Gallo plays Bud with brilliantly articulated physical suggestions. We can see underlying issues in the way that he carries himself and the visible agony in his face. We follow this character through what often feel like banal, meaningless routines, but their implications become clarified once the closing credits have rolled.
Over-emphasizing the infamous motel scene feels counterproductive, because the sequence isn't really about sexuality. It's the most frank and potent depiction of an otherwise hazily sketched character. We learn in one scene what we could only speculate for the majority of the earlier segments in the film. We are presented with haunting regret in the context of a dark fantasy, the dynamics of a broken relationship and possible hints of insanity. Like in Bertolucci's Last Tango, sex is used not to arouse the audience, but to make them feel uneasy and even ashamed. There's something unnatural about viewing a scenario like this, and the background information is what makes it so unnerving. I think Gallo's film is beautiful in a surprising, exciting and totally original way. We use the word "beautiful" so often that it's difficult to distinguish the meaning sometimes. On a purely aesthetic level, The Brown Bunny is beautiful even though it breaks rules of composition and, in doing so, stimulates us in ways we don't expect. Tone is handled masterfully throughout, and we are left with a lingering sense of sadness after the movie is finished.
I think a film like this is potentially alienating. A lot of people will approach it with precise expectations, and most of them will be bored or even repelled by its disregard for convention. I'm not being deliberately iconoclastic when I say that it did a lot for me. It hit me harder than anything I've watched in quite a while
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