The Brown Bunny

Time Out New York Project: Issue #734, October 22-28, 2009

It didn’t matter which cut you watched of multi-hyphenate auteur Vincent Gallo’s second feature (disastrous Cannes premiere version or post-fest re-edit). In either incarnation, the film was heavily criticized for its adherence to the two B’s: Boredom and Blowjob. To recap, that’s about 80 minutes of Gallo’s doleful motorcyclist, Bud Clay, road-tripping cross-country in what feels like real time, and ten minutes of unsimulated fellatio between Bud and an ex-girlfriend (Chloë Sevigny) who turns out to be a figment of his imagination. What was missed amid all the Ecclesiastical accusations of vanity was Gallo’s bold exploration of a damaged male psyche. Several side-of-the-road vignettes (supermodel Cheryl Tiegs features in one of the most mysterious) gracefully reveal Bud’s history and deepen the lengthy, behind-the-wheel sequences where he’s alone with his thoughts. The oral sex finale is the revelatory capper, the point where Bud’s introspection is exploded and he lets everything (physical and emotional) hang out for all to see.—Keith Uhlich