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 there is a delicious line in black humour that some viewers may pick up, especially when Bubby takes to the stage toward the films finale. It’s a shame they didn’t play gigs to support the movies, I’d have been first in the queue for tickets.
Full review appears on www.terroraustralis.net