Bunny and The Bull is the story of a young man – Stephen – a recluse who has not left his house in a year. Stephen relives a trip across Europe with his friend Bunny through mementoes he has kept from the trip.
In any other hands, Bunny and The Bull could be a horrifically depressing tale of a man coming to terms with the death of his friend, but Mighty Boosh director Paul King manages to infuse the movie with enough charm and whimsy to make the audience root for Stephen and hope that he will come to terms with the grief he is suffering.
Fans of The Mighty Boosh will remember Simon Farnaby from small cameos he had in the show. The madcap character Bunny, who doesn’t care about the consequences of his actions, is the perfect counterpoint to Edward Hogg’s wide eyed, suffering protagonist.
Stephen’s memories of the trip are triggered by souvenirs and keepsakes that he discovers in his hyper-organised home, but the charm of the flashback is that it is shown through slightly eccentric mixed media representations – for example, Stephen’s memory of the first train journey is triggered by a photograph, so the train is shown as a snake of photographs winding across a map to their destination. This type of flat animation is reminiscent of the innocence of the Paddington Bear TV show, and it is precisely this that stops the film from descending into a morbid fascination with the past. The style of film making is also reminiscent of the first season of The Mighty Boosh – when everything felt distinctly home made. It is only when Stephen remembers how Bunny died that the real world appears in the film, and it is into this world that Stephen finally steps.
Edward Hogg is perfect in the role of Stephen. He captures, wonderfully, the need for Stephen’s life to be ordered and structured in the face of chaos in the form of his best friend Bunny. It is nice to see Simon Farnaby step out from the epic shadows cast by Mighty Boosh frontmen, Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt. Barratt and Fielding make cameos in the film, as a crazy homeless man and a demented bullfighter, respectively. They are on full Boosh form and add to the fun and whimsy of the film.
Overall Bunny and The Bull is a sad story of a man coming to terms with the accidental death of his best friend, but it is told in such a fun and enchanting way that it pulls the audience in without depressing them along the way.