The Brown Bunny
is a 2003 independent American art house film written, produced and directed by actor Vincent Gallo
The plot follows Bud Clay, a motorcycle racer, undertakes a cross-country drive, following a race in New Hampshire, in order to participate in a race in California. All the while he is haunted by memories of his former lover, Daisy. On his journey he meets other women, but is unable to form an emotional connection with any of them.
Also, at one point, Chloe Sevigny
gives Vincent Gallo a blowjob. A real one. Really.
The film is noteworthy for the amount of controversy around it. First shown at the Cannes Film Festival, the film was booed and many walked out on it. The film was also greatly panned by critics, with director Gallo getting into an awesome
war of words with critic Roger Ebert
, and eventually losing. The film was later Re Cut
and distributed. The finished product received mixed reviews, though ironically, Ebert gave this version a mildly positive 3 out of 4 stars review
"The Brown Tropes":
- Dead Person Conversation: The twist at the end is that Bud is doing this with Daisy when they finally meet. She's already dead, and he's imagining her.
- Flower Motifs: All the women encountered by Bud have flower names. Bud himself has one too.
- Idealized Sex: The sex is real, which is ironic considering that the whole scene is actually a fantasy.
- Leave the Camera Running:
- The film features many extremely long shots, mostly of Bud driving his motorcycle, the road looking out of his windshield, or extremely close profiles of Bud as he drives.
- The infamous version shown at Cannes had an extra half-hour of pointless long shots.
- Moral Guardians: Due to the above mentioned oral sex scene, Sevigny's agency dropped her and it was thought her acting career was over. This ended up being not the case, with Sevigny's career continuing into acclaimed films and TV series.
- Recut: The version shown at the Cannes Film Festival was a rough cut that was apparently not fit for audiences. Once it was completed, critics responded more positively.
- Title Drop: The titular brown bunny shows up midway through the film, when Bud watches it at a pet shop and learns they live for about 5 years. Then he goes back to driving.
- Trailers Always Spoil:
- The red-band trailer reveals the final twist at the end, though you might not realize it. In fact, it basically sums up the entire movie: Bud drives his motorcycle while haunted by Daisy's death.
- Many posters on the film, including the soundtrack cover, showed the infamous oral sex scene. Naturally there was controversy over this.