How now, brown bunny?
Vincent Gallo is touring the country with a print of The Brown Bunny, which is very much his film, a fact confirmed in the first stark titles of the film, attributing all the major aspects of its production to himself. It's nice to start with a laugh, because there's not a lot of room for them later on.
The film is a compendium of pain and loneliness, as Vincent's motorcycle racer drives across the country, seemingly in search for female companionship, but his tastes are too specific, his social awkwardness and neediness approaching that of a creep, if not surpassing that invisible barrier.
Why am I giving the Brown Bunny a seven? It's a valid question, and one I ask myself as I write this.
Is it the shot composition, especially the use of shape and color? That's some of it.
Is it the truthful capture of raw and embarrassing emotions? That's some of it too.
Is it the scene where ChloÃ« Sevigny performs a certain infamously notorious act upon Gallo? Well, no. At least not like you think, you dirty pervs. Contrary to what you may expect, it's a very unsexy scene. It's daring, for sure. And it does work on the same level the film does. The question people will keep asking is whether it was necessary for it to be real. You can do things with angles and so on, to present the suggestion of what's happening. I have an idea of what Gallo was thinking here, of the truth of the scene depending on the truth of what we see. People can argue this one until the cows come home, but he stuck to his guns (no pun intended) and it's hard for me to imagine the film as complete if it were shot otherwise.
The Brown Bunny is not a great film. Many will argue it's not even a good film. But it's 100% Vincent Gallo's vision without any compromises that sacrifice the art (at this budget, of course there were some more practical sacrifices). While there is a story here, it is swallowed up by mood and stark visuals. On its own terms, however far outside the conventions of Hollywood, the film exists as its own cohesive whole.
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