The Brown Bunny

Synopsis: Raw, Tender, Brutal.

The Brown Bunny is both a love story and a haunting portrait of a lost soul unable to forget his past.

After finishing a motorcycle race in New Hampshire, Bud Clay (Vincent Gallo) loads his racing bike into the back of his van and begins a cross-country odyssey to Los Angeles, where he is to compete in another race. During his trip, he meets three very different women: Violet, a wholesome all-American gas station attendant; Lily (Cheryl Tiegs), a fellow lost soul he connects with at a highway rest stop, and Rose, a Las Vegas prostitute.

Throughout his journey, Bud can never escape his intense feelings for the love of his life, Daisy (Chloe Sevigny), so he plans to reconcile with her when her reaches Los Angeles.

Arriving at Los Angeles, Bud checks into a motel before visiting the abandoned home he once shared with Daisy. He leaves a note, hoping she will turn up at his motel room….

Building to a notorious climax, the film presents one of the frankest portrayals of male sexuality ever seen in American cinema.


The Brown Bunny 4.75

eyelights: its natural performances.
eyesores: its meaningless existence. its dreariness. its editing. its poor audio.

“Remember, Bud?”

Daisy, Daisy,
Give me your answer, do.
I’m half crazy,
All for the love of you.

I won’t bother to explain ‘The Brown Bunny’. If you’ve read the synopsis, well, that’s the movie.

This picture consists of blurry, bland shots of Bud (star/writer/editor/director/producer Vincent Gallo) driving his van from New Hampshire to California, sulking, hoping to revisit with Daisy, his lost love – all under the guise of going to a race in a motorcycle competition.

Excitement abounds.

You know that lethargic feeling that you get when you have a tremendous fever, where time slows down like strings of soft toffee, stretching onward endlessly? That’s ‘The Brown Bunny’. The first time I watched this dreary, unhurried film felt like being bedridden, ill.

Be amazed as Bud overcomes the gas pumps and to fill his tank!

Watch Bud drive!

Savour Bud’s mumbled interactions with octogenarian non-actors!

Watch Bud drive!

Marvel at Bud’s ability to sit on a curb, drinking water!

Watch Bud drive!

Enjoy the riveting pet store browsing scene!

Watch Bud drive!

See Bud take his motorbike for another spin!

Watch Bud drive!

Be astonished to find that 48 minutes of the film has passed and nothing’s happened!

After 48 minutes of this ponderous, meaningless exercise in camera rolling, all we’ve discovered is that Bud is looking for Daisy, that her relatives don’t remember him and don’t know where she is, and that his undertaker physique is overcome by his piercing, crystal blue eyes.

Because, yes, Bud (i.e. Vincent Gallo) is quite the ladies’ man: he immediately catches the eyes of the gas attendant and manages to coax her to come with him on his journey, and he later walks past a lonely older woman at a truck stop and spontaneously starts making out with her.

This ratty guy is a total magnet!

But he’s SO tortured that he can’t make the most of these unlikely situations: in the first instance, the jerk drives off while the girl he wooed is packing her bags, and, in the other, he starts crying halfway through and then just walks away while the woman watches him silently.

Yeah, a real winner!

Just like the movie – which, sadly, still has 45 minutes to go by this point.

The only reason anyone bothered to see this picture, including myself, is because of its notoriety: not only did Roger Ebert call it the worst movie to ever be presented at Cannes (in its original edit, which was 25 dismal minutes longer!), but it features an on-screen, real blowjob.

From actress, and former girlfriend, Chloë Sevigny.

I mean, seriously?

Obviously, I was curious: back in 2003, that just didn’t happen. And though I’m not the greatest Chloë Sevigny fan, curiosity is a great motivator. And, yeah, she most certainly does. And she smokes crack, too. Whether either are real or staged I don’t know, but it looks real.


The picture has no real reason to exist except for this scene. Sure, that scene also unleashes Bud’s personal trauma on us, so that we finally understand WTF is up with this guy. But it’s done so ineptly that you can’t be made to care. 75 minutes of nothing so we can be told?


At least ‘Memento‘ had the decency of conveying what little plot it had in the most original way, such that we were riveted to our seats the whole way through. By the big reveal we were satisfied with the outcome. Here, the big reveal feels like a cop-out, as if Gallo was lazy.

Why is the movie called ‘The Brown Bunny’? Presumably, it has something to do with the life of a real bunny, which is at most 5-6 years, no matter what special attentions one showers it with. Perhaps it’s supposed to reflect the harsh reality of Bud and Daisy’s relationship.

But I prefer to think ‘The Brown Bunny’ as something you leave on a mound of grass somewhere after a strenuous squat. I’ve seen worse films, technically, but I’ve rarely seen one so meaningless, its emotional core squandered by such aimless exposition and characterization.

‘The Brown Bunny’ exploded onto the screen.

But it blew it.

Story: 4.5
Acting: 5.0
Production: 5.0

Nudity: 2.0
Sexiness: 2.0
Explicitness: 6.5

Date of viewing: March 12, 2017

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