Note: This film is making its US DVD debut on April 26, 2011--so if you need that format, it will be avaialble soon.
Paul King's inventive and subversively delightful debut "Bunny and the Bull" is a film that took me completely by surprise! This visually inventive treat combines raucous humor, oddball situations, and surprising heart into the story of a shut-in unable to cope with an outside existence. Within the chaos of his apartment, he channels memories and fantasies through his collected objects and goes on a mental road trip that explains how he reached this loner state. If you're looking for an entertainment that's off the beaten track and deftly combines elements of surrealism with over-the-top rudeness, you can do far worse than this film. With thoroughly modern British sensibilities, "Bunny and the Bull" somehow balances childlike wonder with the worst in adult bad behavior. I frequently laughed out loud, never knowing exactly where this mental excursion was going to transport me.
Edward Hogg plays the straight man for much of the tale. Hogg has developed a lifestyle that never requires him to venture outdoors. His apartment is a comic goldmine of visual delights, but the story really opens up as he retraces his past. Simon Farnaby, as his best friend Bunny, presides over much of this misadventure. A real cretin, but not without his charm, he seems to exist to plague Hogg--but it is in these bad acts that Hogg really begins to embrace life. The madcap antics on the road are unrelenting and mostly hysterical. There are women and love stories involved, of course, but more than anything--"Bunny and the Bull" is an examination of friendship. The two leads play off one another with precision. The oddball pairing actually makes sense and there is an underlying sweetness to the story that becomes more evident and highlights a bittersweet revelation.
What really distinguishes "Bunny and the Bull," however, is a plethora of dynamic and absurd special effects. From the first moments when the duo meet in an illustration of the interior of a fast food container, the film's look never fails to entertain. King adeptly transports the viewer to a world that lies just outside of reality and the results are spectacular. In truth, I'm not sure this film is for everyone--but I do think that those who embrace it will do so wholeheartedly. I, for one, fell for it hook, line and sinker. An absolutely unexpected rave--I loved this film. About 4 1/2 stars. KGHarris, 2/11.