Bad Boy Bubby
By: David Michael Brown on September 21, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Umbrella Entertainment (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0, English Binaural Headphone 2.0. 109 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Rolf de Heer
Starring: Nicholas Hope,
Claire Benito, Ralph Cotterill, Carmel Johnson, Syd Brisbane
Screenplay: Rolf de Heer
Music: Graham Tardif
Tagline: "All he needs is love"
Country: Australia
Year: 1993
Rolf de Heer's twisted little movie is a love or hate experience. It pushes many boundaries both visually and technically and is given life by a career defining performance by Nicholas Hope as the titular Bubby.

Living with his religious fanatic mother in a small claustrophobic bunker, Bubby is told by his domineering matriarch that he will die if he leaves the confines of his home. Locked in solitude his warped worldview consists of four walls, an incestuous relationship with his mother and wrapping his pet cat in glad wrap.

Inevitably Bubby breaks loose; he kills his parents and escapes into the "real" world, a child's mind in an adults body, he has been incarcerated for so long he has no comprehension of good and bad, how to deal with people, pizza or pets.

The film shows how Bubby approaches his new life as much as how society spurns anyone who is different. Through naïve perseverance Bubby wins people over by being himself. He becomes the singer in a punk band and a martyr to the dissatisfied youth of today.

Hope is a revelation as Bubby, with his mad shock of hair, bulging eyes and ever twitching grin he is amazing, completely engulfed in the character from beginning to end. Not surprising when you discover that the film was shot exactly in order. The characters he meets are often found to be as mad as Bubby without the excuse of being locked up for years; it shows you exactly how bizarre the people who occupy this world really are. The rest of the cast are suitably strange and often make Bubby look relatively normal.

The film looks wonderful; not sure if De Heer really required 32 different cinematographers but the contrasts between Bubby's worlds are expertly depicted. The film is extremely disturbing in places and makes for an unsettling watch but also has a delicious line in black humour that some viewers may pick up, especially when Bubby takes to the stage toward the films finale its superb, it's a shame they didn't play gigs to support the movies, I'd have been first in the queue for tickets.
Video
Excellent, the contrast between the dark dingy scenes in Bubby's room and the Technicolor vibrancy of the outside world is perfectly executed.
Audio
Again excellent; the 5.1 track enhances the films odd ambience. The soundtrack mix was very important to De Heer, in fact a bi-aural headphone mix is also included here. While filming Hope had microphones fixed behind his ears so the sound becomes directional in relation to which way Bubby is looking. The effect when listening to the film is fabulous and adds another layer to an already complex film.
Extra Features
The double disc set includes a couple of excellent chats with the filmmakers; Christ Kid, You're a Weirdo sees Rolf De Heer talking of the many innovative technical aspects of the film whilst Being Bubby discovers some hilarious tales of Bubby's worldwide success with Nicholas Hope. Hope and De Heer also supply an excellent audio commentary.

During the interviews we hear about the short film Rolf De Heer watched when he discovered Hope called Confessor Caressor. The short is included here and a disturbing look into the mind of a suspected serial killer. A Popcorn Taxi event featuring a Q & A with Hope in Melbourne adds further details in the making of the film.

A stills selection, the theatrical trailer and a selection of trailers for Aussie classics released by Umbrella founds of an excellent disc.
The Verdict
A wonderful disc of a fabulously weird and eccentric film. Umbrella have pulled out all the stops in terms of extras and film presentation. The film will not be for everyone but even Bubby's fiercest critics will be impressed with this 5 star disc.
Movie Score
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