July 29, 2012

Filthy Review - 'The Bunny Game'

The Bunny Game (2010)

Review by Jude Felton

Some reviews are easy to write, whereas others for whatever reason tend to be a little harder. In the case of The Bunny Game it’s a tricky one. The main reason being is that the film originally saw the light of day, through screeners and festivals, a couple of years ago. So, in the time since there have been reviews here and there, and most noticeably comments made to the content of the film. It appears that films that have supposedly controversial content are the first to be spoiled, so to speak.

Also, by their very nature, these so-called controversial movies split audiences with the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face; some are going to dig the Hell out of them, and then you get the “It was nothing, I’ve seen worse brigade”. Of late it has happened with A Serbian Film and the Human Centipede films, although funnily enough the Japanese, who are masters of the nasty, have remained relatively free of this hyperbole (Guinea Pig flicks aside), and it will no doubt continue long into the future. Controversial films have been around for decades though; as long as cinema has been around, so when reviewing said material I like to go in with a clear mind. Sure, I have heard the comments etc. about The Bunny Game, but I have not read any other review, or even watched the trailer all the way through. I take each film for what it is, and I will continue to do so.

The Bunny Game is about a prostitute named, ironically enough, Bunny. She spends her time looking for her next trick, until eventually she picks up a trucker. Or should I say that the trucker picks her up? Before you can shout “pesky wabbit”, Bunny is knocked unconscious, only to awaken restrained in the trailer attached to the truck. What happens next is an exercise in physically and aural torture, as Bunny endures the “games’ the trucker plays. As you can imagine, the games aren’t pleasant and are graphically displayed on the screen.

Now, I say that they are displayed graphically, but don’t go into this film expecting a gore fest; the bloodshed is minimal, although the violence, both sexual and otherwise, is very much to the forefront.

Shot in stark black and white, which incidentally looked great on the Blu-ray version I watched (it also comes with the DVD), so nothing is going to be missed. The picture veers from crystal clear shots to wildly manic edits that thrust the viewer deep into the heart of the action, which appears to jump back and forth in time, revealing more of the trucker’s past.

The Bunny Game really is unpleasant viewing, there is no attempt made for the viewer to get an enjoyment from the film; which is entirely intentional. What I found though, whilst watching it, was that the film impacted far more with me when the camera rested on the trucker while he sits outside, listening to the screams that come from his truck. Or a scene where he is stood at the back of the trailer smoking a cigarette. This is where the true power of the film came, for me. The cold contemplation in his eyes, and not the acts of violence themselves, which are bloody nasty but nothing I haven’t seen before.

The movie itself is relatively free of dialogue, aside from snippets here and there, although there is a lot of shouting and screaming. There isn’t the need for dialogue though, with the trucker, as previously mentioned, speaking volumes with his face alone.

There is obviously another major component to this film though, and that of course is Bunny herself (played by co-writer/producer Rodleen Getsic). She has thrown herself into this role, and has left nothing behind. Again, as with the case of Jeff Renfro, who plays the trucker, everything is in the face and, to a certain degree, her body. It’s a raw performance, and a very real one.
Overall, The Bunny Game is a movie that will divide with a passion. I thought it was incredibly good, for reasons I have mentioned. I liked what wasn’t shown or said, the implications and power behind the seemingly innocent moments. These brought a stark contrast to the unrelenting savagery that sandwich these moments.

By the time the movie had drawn to a close I was glad it was over, the final ten minutes pretty much kicked me in the teeth and filled me with nothing but sadness. Was I shocked? Not really, but then I didn’t expect to be. However, it packed a punch on a level that I didn’t expect it to. The Bunny Game is a good movie, although it is one that no one should enjoy.

The Bunny Game is released on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and single disc DVD by Autonomy Pictures on July 31st.

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