The Brown Bunny

Though Vincent Gallo's second feature may never escape the crippling legacy of its Cannes premiere, it's worth noting that the re-cut version, which played several festivals last fall, is an astonishing improvement on the original version. Critical debacles traditionally have no second acts, but given a fresh start, pic could attract niche biz.

Though Vincent Gallo’s second feature may never escape the crippling legacy of its Cannes premiere, it’s worth noting that the re-cut version, which played several festivals last fall, is an astonishing improvement on the original version (reviewed in Variety, May 26, 2003). With 27 minutes excised, pic emerges from its mind-numbing undergrowth as a memorable — if still highly specialized — exercise in personal, ’70s-style American filmmaking, with a cohesive feel and rhythm that marks Gallo as a distinctive indie talent. Critical debacles traditionally have no second acts, but given a fresh start, pic could attract niche biz.

Most importantly, film no longer plays as a vanity project centered on Gallo himself, as shots of the actor have been radically pruned. Swathes of endless driving footage are gone, along with risible scenes like Bud (Gallo) stopping to change his sweater or sequences prolonged beyond reason (notably, the Bonneville Salt Flats one, which now ends halfway, as Bud’s motorbike disappears on the horizon).

Final half-hour, which appears unchanged, is now both poignant and powerful, with the clear impression that the appearance of Daisy (Chloe Sevigny) in the hotel room is simply Bud’s fantasy. Aside from one tiny shot, all other flashbacks to Daisy — including the much-derided bicycling sequence — are gone.

As a result, pic plays as what it was seemingly meant to be: a melancholy road movie (in which the songs-and-driving sequences take on greater import) centered on a man in search of substitutes for the lost love of his life. Final, post-fellatio, scenes still seem emotionally overstated, but up to that point, this re-edited version of the pic is akin to watching a new movie.

The whole experience of “Brown Bunny” should also serve as a powerful lesson — to both filmmakers and festival programmers — in the potentially destructive habit of using high-profile events as glorified test screenings.

The Brown Bunny

U.S. - Japan - re-edited version

Production: A Kinetique presentation of a Vincent Gallo Prods. production. (International sales: Kinetique, Tokyo.) Directed, written by Vincent Gallo.

Crew: Reviewed at Thessaloniki Film Festival (competing), Nov. 26, 2003. (Also in Toronto, Vienna film festivals.) Running time: 92 MIN.

More Scene

  • SAG Awards Prep

    Sneak Peek at 2018 SAG Awards Post-Show Gala

    Though Vincent Gallo’s second feature may never escape the crippling legacy of its Cannes premiere, it’s worth noting that the re-cut version, which played several festivals last fall, is an astonishing improvement on the original version (reviewed in Variety, May 26, 2003). With 27 minutes excised, pic emerges from its mind-numbing undergrowth as a memorable […]

  • Sundance Parties

    Sundance 2018: The Insider's Party Guide

    Though Vincent Gallo’s second feature may never escape the crippling legacy of its Cannes premiere, it’s worth noting that the re-cut version, which played several festivals last fall, is an astonishing improvement on the original version (reviewed in Variety, May 26, 2003). With 27 minutes excised, pic emerges from its mind-numbing undergrowth as a memorable […]

  • '12 Strong' film premiere

    '12 Strong': Chris Hemsworth Hopes Film Can Reduce 'Misconceptions' About Afghanistan

    Though Vincent Gallo’s second feature may never escape the crippling legacy of its Cannes premiere, it’s worth noting that the re-cut version, which played several festivals last fall, is an astonishing improvement on the original version (reviewed in Variety, May 26, 2003). With 27 minutes excised, pic emerges from its mind-numbing undergrowth as a memorable […]

  • Guillermo del Toro, Greta Gerwig and

    Timothée Chalamet Says He'd Love to Work With Christopher Nolan or Guillermo del Toro

    Though Vincent Gallo’s second feature may never escape the crippling legacy of its Cannes premiere, it’s worth noting that the re-cut version, which played several festivals last fall, is an astonishing improvement on the original version (reviewed in Variety, May 26, 2003). With 27 minutes excised, pic emerges from its mind-numbing undergrowth as a memorable […]

  • Tracee Ellis Ross

    Tracee Ellis Ross at Image Makers Awards: 'Clothing Started as Armor for Me'

    Though Vincent Gallo’s second feature may never escape the crippling legacy of its Cannes premiere, it’s worth noting that the re-cut version, which played several festivals last fall, is an astonishing improvement on the original version (reviewed in Variety, May 26, 2003). With 27 minutes excised, pic emerges from its mind-numbing undergrowth as a memorable […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content