The Brown Bunny Vincent Gallo

After a horrific Cannes debut, The Brown Bunny seemed destined to be locked up in a vault, never to be made available for public consumption. But now, two years after it was to be theatrically released, Gallo's second feature film has escaped its fate. Cutting 26 minutes from its original fest time, Gallo made this version a little more bearable for viewers and yet I don't see why he'd do such a thing. Gallo is known for his pompous narcissism, and what lies within Bunny shouldn't surprise anyone who's heard one of his self-indulgent albums. Quite simply, the film is a road movie filled with a number of overextended single shots that rotate between beautiful landscapes and mile after mile of drab highway. Yes, Gallo (who wrote, directed, produced, photographed, starred and did everything else in the film — don't you forget it!) likes to hold his shots, just like he enjoys a good pouty expression in front of the camera, but the cinematography — though mostly done by himself — is often striking (i.e., the motorbike scene in the salt flats) and well manoeuvred. Of course, there is his problem with women, which reduces him to either a lovesick wimp pining for his lost love Daisy (Chloe Sevigny), or a womanising asshole when he briefly canoodles with three women and despicably dusts them on his way to L.A. But it's typical of Gallo to portray himself in both lights. Two disappointments do arise with this film. The first is not being able to enjoy Bunny without anticipating the "infamous" climax at the end, which causes the film to lose some of its flair. This "surprise" would have been priceless and the scene more compelling if it was kept discreet. The second disappointment is the utter lack of extras, even the cut 26 minutes of original footage is missing. Overall though, The Brown Bunny deserves to be talked about, if not for its scene of explicit yet perfectly normal sexuality (much like last year's 9 Songs) for its stark realism and Gallo's humble love for motorcycles. If you can handle Gallo's idea of an art film featuring his multi-talented self, you can easily find redeeming qualities in this film. (Columbia/Sony)