Preview by: Jack Foley
IT'S been well over a year since Vincent Gallo's sexually explicit,
The Brown Bunny, was hailed as possibly the worst picture to screen
for a decade at the Cannes Film Festival.
The movie tells the tale of Bud Clay, a motorcycle racer (Vincent
Gallo), who travels around the United States competing in Formula
11 races, while being haunted by the love of his life Daisy (Chloe
Yet, critics at Cannes openly guffawed at the screening, before
groaning at the highly-graphic oral sex scene at the end, prompting
Gallo to write it off as 'a disaster of a film', and promising
never to make another movie again.
Now that the dust has settled somewhat, however, the movie has
been released in America - and the word is actually more positive.
Variety, for instance, hailed it to be 'a memorable
- if still highly specialized - exercise in personal, '70s-style
American filmmaking, with a cohesive feel and rhythm that marks
Gallo as a distinctive indie talent'.
While Entertainment Weekly wrote that it 'has
the rarefied air of a sophomore indulgence, yet Gallo's talent
is there in every frame'.
The New York Post, meanwhile, opined: "As
evident from The Brown Bunny and his directing debut, Buffalo
66, Gallo is talented, although in an unconventional way."
However, there were just as many
derisory verdicts, from the likes of Hollywood Reporter,
which dismissed it as a film 'crude technique and thundering banality'.
Likewise, the Los Angeles Times, which wrote
that 'f you think [Gallo's] a brilliant, satirical cut-up, then
The Brown Bunny is an elaborate and successful art prank. If you
think he's a pretentious, self-obsessed, tedious weirdo, then
The Brown Bunny will back you up 100%."
And the New York Daily News, which added: "Gallo
was also director, writer, editor and producer, and the ego inherent
in that distracts from every frame of this ugly-looking, windshield-splattered
Worse still was Reelviews, which wrote that
'it's hard to imagine how anyone could appreciate this movie,
with its inane, repetitious, and pause-filled dialogue; non-existent
plot; and stillborn character definition'.
And BoxOffice Magazine, which wrote it off as
a 'self-indulgent voyeuristic exposé'.
Slightly better was the Los Angeles Daily News,
which opined: "Gallo has made a credible enough movie about
a soul in pain. But he hasn't made a very deep or absorbing one,
while simultaneously pumping the thing to bursting with narcissism."
While the New York Times felt that it is 'neither
an atrocity nor a revelation, The Brown Bunny is a very watchable,
often beautiful-looking film'.
But the final word goes to Premiere Magazine,
which concluded: "It’s the best film I’ve seen
in a while that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone."