Bunny and the Bull (2009) is a comedy film by Paul King, starring Edward Hogg and Simon Farnaby. It’s available on DVD in region 1 and 2, and is available to rent from Facets.
Bunny and the Bull has all the makings of a cliche madcap road trip movie: Bunny (Simon Farnaby), a ladies’ man with a gambling problem, invites his best friend Stephen (Edward Hogg) on a road trip across Europe to help him get over the girl he’s been swooning over. Like all these sorts of movies, you get cameos from stars like Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd) and Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt (not surprising as the film was written and directed by The Mighty Boosh director Paul King). After getting drunk, Bunny and Stephen steal a taxidermy bear, meet a bum who drinks milk straight from the dog, and Stephen has to save Bunny from drowning when he loses a bet. Both Bunny and Stephen fall for the same girl and wind up sabotaging each others’ chances with her. You’ve heard it all before, right?
Actually, Bunny and the Bull is so much more than a cliche madcap road trip movie. For one, it’s gorgeous. We start out in the slightly surreal setting of Stephen’s flat, which, although immensely tidier, somewhat resembles the home of Simon Pegg’s character in A Fantastic Fear of Everything. Both characters are agoraphobes, but Stephen is also OCD. When we move into the flashback, the road trip, everything changes. The backgrounds are made of paper cut-outs. The background characters move at a different speed than the foreground characters. There’s animated maps and claymation-looking car trips. And that’s all before we get to the beautiful clockwork bull.
We travel between present and flashback through a variety of unnerving transitions, including typical ones like zooming into a snow globe, to disorienting ones where Stephen returns out of his memory by coming up through the couch cushions. As the day goes on, Stephen’s delirium gets odder and odder, which brings me to the next point.
Bunny and the Bull is more than a cliche road trip movie because ultimately it is about grief. Stephen was a quirky fellow before he set off on his journey across Europe, but as we dig into his distorted memories of this fantastical trip he took, we begin to understand why the eccentricities eventually took over his life. After a year of mourning, he finally begins to dig himself out of his psychosis and rejoin the world.
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