Bunny and the Bull
|Bunny and the Bull|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Paul King|
|Produced by||Mary Burke
|Written by||Paul King|
with Verónica Echegui
|Music by||Ralfe Band
|Editing by||Mark Everson|
|Studio||Warp X Productions
UK Film Council
|Distributed by||Optimum Releasing|
|Running time||101 minutes|
Bunny and the Bull is a 2009 British comedy film from writer-director Paul King. It stars Edward Hogg and Simon Farnaby in a surreal recreation of a road trip. King has previously worked on British television comedies The Mighty Boosh and Garth Marenghi's Darkplace; the film is made in a similar style and has guest appearances from stars of those series.
Bunny and the Bull is a road movie set entirely in a flat. Stephen Turnbull (Edward Hogg) has not left the house in months. When an infestation of mice wreaks havoc on his daily routine, he finds his mind going back to a disastrous trek round Europe he undertook the previous year with his best friend Bunny (Simon Farnaby). As the story progresses Stephen reconstructs the journey using objects found around his flat, while hallucinations of several people from the journey trouble him.
The journey begins with Stephen attempting to declare his feelings for Melanie (Madeleine Worrall), the love of his life, in a restaurant; unfortunately she had put him firmly in "the friend zone". To help lift his spirits Bunny proposes that they go on trip around Europe. When they go to visit the local bookmaker, Bunny convinces Stephen to break the habit of a lifetime and take a risk by putting fifty pounds on a rank outsider. They win and then use the £2,500 winnings to pay for the trip. Along the way they stumble across several interesting characters including: a demented dog-loving tramp (Julian Barratt), an alcoholic ex-matador (Noel Fielding), a dull tour-guide (Richard Ayoade) and a superstitious waitress Eloisa (Verónica Echegui), with whom both Bunny and Stephen start a relationship. Stephen is a nervous vegetarian who prepares himself well for every journey—he is definitely the more sensible of the two friends. Bunny is slightly crooked: loves a bet, loves alcohol and also loves sex. Later on in the film Bunny's gambling ways eventually lead him into losing a suit that he stole from the former matador to a gypsy (he was not supposed to go anywhere near the suit and it was bad enough he even wore it). This all happens as soon Stephen has had intercourse with Eloisa (he clearly has more feelings for her than Bunny who sleeps with several women throughout the film). Bunny begs Stephen to help him which he agrees to eventually (when explaining the whole story to Eloisa, Stephen gets punched in the face by her which clearly upsets him). Eventually the duo catch a train (presumably to go home); Stephen starts becoming firm with Bunny and tells him he has never really achieved anything and that the only reason they went to Spain anyway was to fight a bull. Bunny says that if Stephen wants him to fight a bull then he will. Bunny finds a large bull which is made from clockwork and household objects. After fighting the bull for a while Bunny begins to leave, at which point the bull charges towards him and as it does it becomes real. It is now know the image that keeps coming into Stephen's head in the present time, he was running to help Bunny and warn him about the charging beast. Unfortunately it's too late, as the bull gores Bunny in the chest, Bunny coughs up some blood and falls dead. Stephen runs up to his fallen friend in the now field, and drags his dead friend out of the fiend. As the sun rises that morning, Stephen sits thinking, in the field, with the stuffed bear on one side of him and his friend's bloody body on the other. Stephen returns from the trip without his friend. Upon returning home, Stephen slumps to sit with his back against the door and begins to cry over Bunny. Stephen, possibly blaming himself for his friend's death, has not left his house since. Back to the present Stephen is imagining Bunny sitting by his side talking to him about women. Bunny advises Stephen to talk to Eloisa. Stephen gives her a call (it is not heard what is being said) and after this gets ready to leave the house still seeing Bunny in a vision. Bunny asks if he can put a bet on a horse and tells him its a shoo-in and is worth betting his whole house on. Stephen turns around to Bunny one last time before leaving to find that Bunny has disappeared. Stephen steps outside venturing out into the world once again and shuts the door behind him. The credits roll.
- Edward Hogg as Stephen Turnbull
- Simon Farnaby as Bunny
- Verónica Echegui as Eloisa
- Noel Fielding as Javier
- Richard Ayoade as Museum Curator
- Julian Barratt as Atilla
- Rich Fulcher as Captain Crab (voice)
The film was produced by Mary Burke at Warp X (Warp Films digital slate) with financing from Film4, UK Film Council, EM Media, and Screen Yorkshire and filmed at King's Meadow Campus of the University of Nottingham for 5 weeks. Paul King, having previously directed and associate directed cult favourites The Mighty Boosh and Garth Marenghi's Darkplace respectively on television, uses a similar surreal, nonsensical, and occasional dark style in the film. Like many projects made by ex-contributors of Garth Marenghi and Boosh, the film features several other ex-contributors such as Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt, Richard Ayoade, and Simon Farnaby, along with animation sequences by Nigel Coan. King admits "I’ve basically cast it off my speed-dial."
Bunny and the Bull received mostly positive reviews. Empire rated the film at four stars (out of a maximum five), describing it as "charmingly crafted and willfully daft". The film was compared to Michel Gondry's 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in theme and appearance, with the exception that Bunny and the Bull "manages to tramp down its whimsy with a rich vein of very silly, very British comedy". Charles Watson of underground film magazine Slant said it was "a daft tale of wit and woe, with recognisable actors that go straight into their comfort zones making it as crafty and clever as possible."
- "Bunny and The Bull". Channel 4. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- "Paul King talks 'The Bunny and the Bull' - The Mighty Boosh director goes widescreen". Clash Music. 2009-11-23. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
- De Semlyen, Nick (November 26, 2009Empire (Bauer Media) (247): 54.). "Bunny and the Bull".