The Brown Bunny

on August 27, 2004 by Mary Colbert
As the above credits indicate, Vincent Gallo redefines the term auteur in the anticipated follow-up to his impressive cult hit debut, "Buffalo 66." And this self-indulgent voyeuristic exposé suffers as a result. It's a pity, as one particular story strand--his character's nostalgic obsession with a past love--had potential for a much more interesting exploration.

Gallo plays Bud Clay, a motorcycle racer first encountered in a New Hampshire event. The film traces his journey across the country to California for his next race. The minutiae of his life become the movie's fabric: Bud driving endlessly behind a dirty, bug-splattered windshield; Bud slowly unloading his bike to ride on the Salt flats; Bud taking a shower. Some exasperated Cannes audience members were driven to clap sarcastically at one tedious scene centered around Bud putting on a sweater.

The one point of interest is Bud's attitude toward women. Gallo portrays his protagonist as a babe magnet with a penchant for women whose names are part of the floral family--teenaged Violet, a hooker named Rose (a union of Rose-Bud for a cinephile allusion to "Citizen Kane")--but he seems distracted, unable to commit--even to quick sex. In the last quarter of the movie his dreams reveal the reason: his obsession with his lost love, Daisy (Chloe Sevigny), with whom he believes he is reunited in a torrid graphic fellatio scene (with close-ups of the Gallo member) evidently performed for real. There is only one possible exit from this obsession--in which Daisy's pet bunny plays an overtly symbolic role.

After an irreverent press conference (far more entertaining than the movie), the prickly Gallo publicly apologized to the audience and his financiers for disappointing them. Somehow, it came off as yet another navel-gazing gimmick. Starring, directed, written and produced by Vincent Gallo. A Wellspring release. Romantic drama. Unrated. Running time: 119 min

Tags: vincent Gallo, Wellspring, Romantic drama, Bud, babe magnet, floral, Violet, hooker, Rose

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