The Brown Bunny (2003)
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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.
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
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.
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.
While I could see that the author wanted the audience to crawl inside the protagonist, Bud, during the road trip, it didn't take that darned long to do it. Plus, his point of view changed too frequently. If we are inside his skin, then why are we looking at him for minutes in an excruciatingly long and tedious long shot? We need to see what he sees--at least with more consistency. I couldn't get my bearings in terms of what I was supposed to be experiencing and from what viewpoint.
There were other technical problems such as an inconsistency in lighting and shot quality with no apparent reason. And that spotted windshield drove me nuts. If a sign of depression and the carelessness that results from it, I'd have appreciated technique that didn't interfere so much with the visuals. Speaking of visuals, extending driving sequences to cover a song also seemed visually uninspired.
Probably most important, Gallo ignored common expectations of audiences and wanted things his way. I can't believe there wasn't an acceptable compromise. I'm pretty patient when it comes to art and film as art, but don't appreciate my sensibilities and expectations to be pushed beyond the breaking point when there appears to be no artistic justification for it. Too many scenes suffered from too few cuts and ran far too long, engendering more audience frustration than heightened emotionalism. I think this may be a result of an inexperienced and slightly self-indulgent filmmaker.
These technical problems aside, I'm usually able to spot a twist a mile away--but not this time. I wondered why all the women he encountered had flower names but that was just a hint that didn't make much sense until the end. But his name? Bud, as in "flower bud" and "clay" as in a substance in which flowers grow (he couldn't have named the character "dirt" or "mulch," after all) might have been a bit over the top. Again, typical of an immature filmmaker.
Was the encountered women's immediate sexual response to a complete stranger, fantasy on the character's part or the filmmaker's? I'd like to know how many men run into so many compliant females. From what I hear, not many--even when the guy is young, good-looking, and clearly pitiable. In this day and age, we ladies are a bit more cautious than that. Sorry, Vincent. While this may have been believable for males, I don't expect it was for very many female viewers.
I watched the film largely because I wanted to see if and how graphic sex could be incorporated into a drama without lowering it to the level of "high brow pornography." I think the film did a good job on that score, although I'd have preferred the use of a realistic-looking prosthetic such as that used in Boogie Nights. Perhaps the budget didn't allow for it or...who knows? It was certainly an interesting artistic choice and one that leaves me scratching my head in terms of the motive for including it. Symbolically, I'm a bit confused about it.
As effective and surprising as the end twist was, there could have been more in terms of Bud's descent into depression. But then, I'm a psychologist so am aware that symptoms are more than seeking surrogates, crying, and looking forlorn and depressed. Gallo missed, IMO, a chance to show more about what guilt and loss look like and how they affect people. Perhaps, this again, is a result of his inexperience. Personally, I think Redford's "Ordinary People" did a better job of showing a wider breadth of feelings of grief and loss.
Bottom line, although I thought the story had merit and did an excellent job of building to a surprising twist, I think it suffered severely in the journey towards the denouement. I hope Gallo matures and grows as a storyteller and filmmaker as I think he's got something to say worth watching.
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
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!
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.
"The Brown Bunny" is an independent very low budget movie by Vincent Gallo. The plot is developed in slow pace and is dull and boring in many moments. The revelation of Daisy's secret is totally unexpected. However the movie has become famous only because of the unnecessary fellatio of Chloë Sevigny, maybe to satisfy Vincent Gallo's ego, since does not add anything but a polemic scene to this movie in a poor hype. My vote is five.
Title (Brazil): Not available on DVD or Blu-Ray