The Brown Bunny (2003)

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Released 20-Dec-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Dolby Digital Trailer
Theatrical Trailer-2
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 89:27
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Vincent Gallo
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Vincent Gallo
ChloŽ Sevigny
Cheryl Tiegs
Elizabeth Blake
Anna Vareschi
Mary Morasky
Case ?
RPI ? Music Jeff Alexander
Ted Curson
Jackson C. Frank


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Danish
Finnish
Hebrew
Hindi
Norwegian
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

††† Sometimes negative publicity can bring a small and obscure film into the limelight. This was certainly the case with Vincent Gallo's second feature, The Brown Bunny.

††† After the†critical success of his first feature Buffalo '66, the initial reaction to this second feature was disappointing, both critically and commercially. When well-known film critic Roger Ebert viewed the film at Cannes in 2003, he made the bold statement that this film was the worst film in the history of the Cannes Film Festival. Gallo took great offence to this comment and publicly ridiculed Ebert, which only served to fuel the†debate with priceless publicity. Unfortunately, this publicity did not flow across to the box office, where The Brown Bunny faired poorly.

††† The harsh criticism from Cannes caused Gallo to re-edit the film, cutting†nearly thirty minutes from its original running time. Ironically, this even pleased Ebert, who gave the film a more positive review on its official cinema release. He claimed the film had been greatly improved by the re-edit.

††† This low-budget†film borders on experimental at times, with†Gallo's use of unconventional techniques in composition and filming, together with the minimal use of dialogue. These aspects†of the film are†likely to irritate as many as they will please.

††† Another point of interest†was the important scene late in the film, which depicts a real act of oral sex. While this scene was filmed with some discretion,†it could also be argued that†it's inclusion in the film was purely publicity†driven and guaranteed†the film†much discussion and controversy.

†††After finishing a disappointing second Bud Clay (Vincent Gallo) loads his motorcycle into the back of his van. He begins the long and lonely journey to Los Angeles for the next race on the fixture.

††† Along the way Bud has brief encounters with three women, all of whom have names that relate to flowers. Bud seeks out companionship with these women, but shies away from any serious or intimate connection. Violet (Anna Vareschi), Lilly (Cheryl Tiegs) and Rose (Elizabeth Blake) all become short-lived substitutes for Bud's one true love, Daisy - another flower name (ChloŽ Sevigny).

††† It becomes obvious that Bud is tormented by a past relationship with Daisy. He even stops in to visit†her elderly parents along the way and discovers their memories of the past are rapidly fading.

††† Bud's desperation to locate Daisy is rewarded when she appears in his Los Angeles motel room. This scene is pivotal to the impact of the film for more reasons than the fellatio scene,†revealing an unexpected and ultimately moving conclusion.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††††I believe the video transfer for The Brown Bunny is quite faithful to the source.

††† The transfer is presented in†the film's†original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

††† It is very difficult to†make general†comments on this transfer because every scene exhibits different characteristics. However, these are†certainly inherent in the source material and not a reflection†on the transfer. Some of the scenes in The Brown Bunny look superb, with amazing sharpness and clarity. Compare these to other scenes, which display considerable amounts of film grain and noise, such as†night scenes at 11:57 and 45:14.

††† The film's small budget plus Vincent Gallo's experimental style of filming contribute to its overall look. This is in no way a criticism; I think an excellent level of reality is achieved using this method. The Brown Bunny instantly reminded me of the gritty†dramas Paul Morrissey made for Andy Warhol's factory in the early seventies. Accordingly, blacks also varied in intensity and depth. Shadows were generally quite good and displayed a consistent high level of detail.

††† Colours appeared well balanced and natural, while occasionally exhibiting a slightly dusty haze.

††† I found no evidence of MPEG artefacts in this transfer. As mentioned above, I believe this transfer is quite faithful to the source material. As such, film-to-video artefacts are well controlled and not problematic. Film artefacts were also very minimal and caused no real concern.

††† This DVD contains a decent selection of subtitles. All are presented in white and are easy to read. The English subtitles in particular are very accurate. I can't comment on the accuracy of the other languages. The available†subtitles include†English, Italian,†Spanish, Dutch, Finnish, Hebrew, Hindi, Norwegian, Swedish and Turkish.

††† This DVD is a single-sided, dual-layer disc. The layer change occurs at 45:58 and is perfectly placed during a fade to black between scenes.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††††The audio transfer is subtle and effective.

††† There is one audio track available on this DVD, English Dolby Digital 5.0 (448Kb/s).

††† The dialogue quality in general is quite good, but suffers from the occasional quiet passages of dialogue during many scenes. I had to increase the volume considerably to hear much of the dialogue during the motel scene in particular. This was certainly due to actors speaking very quietly, rather than an audio problem†with the transfer.

††† I found no adverse issues with audio sync.

††† The music score for The Brown Bunny consists of a non-original collection of music from a variety of musicians. All the music has been very well chosen and suits the general ambience of the film beautifully. The featured artists include Ted Curson, Jeff Alexander, Gordon Lightfoot, Jackson C. Frank and Francesco Accardo .

††† With no significant requirement for directional sound, the surround channels were used to very subtle effect. An excellent directional effect was noted at 44:12 , with a van moving from front of the soundstage to the rear.

††† The subwoofer slept through the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† The selection of extras are minimal and consist of two trailers.

Menu

††† The main menu is quite plain and ordinary. It is static and silent, but does have 16x9 enhancement.

Dolby Digital Trailer (0:32)

††† Space

Theatrical Trailer 1 (0:43)††† Theatrical Trailer 2 (1:49)

††† The Brown Bunny

Censorship

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R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††† I'll compare this reviewed version of The Brown Bunny with the Columbia Tristar R1 Superbit version released on 16th August 2005. This R1 Superbit version naturally features a Dolby Digital 5.0 and DTS audio track. As is the case with the local version, the subwoofer isn't used on the R1 Superbit version.

††† The same two theatrical trailers are also on this disc, with only English and French subtitles.

††† †With the limitations of the source material, both video and audio, it's hard to imagine what degree of improvement could be gained in this Superbit version.

††† All things considered, this local version is quite good, so the choice is yours.

Summary

††† The Brown Bunny is an incredibly personal film by Vincent Gallo. Some will embrace†the film as brave, honest filmmaking, while others will class it as tedious, pretentious rubbish. Although both opinions are valid, I quite like this film and believe the good moments outweigh†Gallo's occasional†moments of†self indulgence. The Brown Bunny†benefits from repeated viewings and should reward those who have patience and a passion for something†a little different.

††† I believe the transfers are a faithful†reflection of†the source material.

††† Unfortunately, the extras are limited to a couple of theatrical trailers.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Friday, December 02, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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Comments (Add)
R2 Japan has Gallo commentary - cztery
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DTS - cztery REPLY POSTED