Bunny & The Bull
Review by Jack Foley
PAUL King’s feature film debut Bunny & The Bull is, without doubt, one of the most visually distinctive films of this or any year.
Sadly, while consistently great to look at, it’s neither as funny as it thinks it is, nor as emotionally involving.
King, who also wrote the screenplay, strikes an awkward balance between the crass humour and tragedy underpinning the story and never really makes his characters endearing enough.
The film picks up as Stephen Turnbull (Edward Hogg) reflects on the memory of a disastrous European holiday he took with his best friend Bunny (Simon Farnaby) while being imprisoned by OCD in his downbeat King’s Cross flat.
But while this suggests a broad road movie involving plenty of flashbacks, viewers never actually leave Stephen’s apartment… instead being transported to each memmory via stop-motion animation, abstract sets and visual trickery based around the objects in Stephen’s flat.
It’s a clever idea, ingeniously realised visually, that lends the film its intriguing look.
But while sequences set inside snow globes, amid a fairground made out of cuckoo clock parts and involving clockwork bulls really do impress, the film comes up short in other areas.
The odd couple relationship between Hogg and Farnaby is nicely played, but neither character emerges as particularly likeable. Farnaby’s Bunny, especially, lacks the charisma needed to make his boorish best friend even remotely appealing.
Extended cameos from Mighty Boosh regulars Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt merely add to the surreal nature of the journey and heighten the oddball nature of the comedy, while Spanish actress Veronica Echegui is under-developed when the film would have benefited more from her feisty flesh-and-blood attitude.
The comedy, meanwhile, is a little too crass and over-milked (particularly in its use of swearing or dog milking!) and strikes one too many duff notes when set against the context of the more serious side of the story.
The end result is a film that you’ll want to like more than you actually do by virtue of its memorable visual style. But alas, it just doesn’t convince on an emotional or comedic level.
Running time: 101mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: March 29, 2010
- Buy it on DVD (Amazon)
- Buy it on Blu-ray (Amazon)
- Read the review
- Paul King interview
- Edward Hogg and Simon Farnaby interview