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Review: ‘Bad Boy Bubby’ Delivers on “Disturbing” in Every Sense of the Word

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Review: 'Bad Boy Bubby' Delivers on "Disturbing" in Every Sense of the Word

An experimental film that’s actually good? Lucky day! Bad Boy Bubby is a 1993 Australian-Italian black comedy directed by Rolf De Heer. De Heer started working on Bubby in 1980. He carried around index card and would write down his ideas as they occurred, taking breaks here and there. The scripts was constantly re-written and I would say it paid off considering how highly the film is revered.

The film starts and it is disturbing immediately. We meet our main character, Bubby. Bubby lives with his Mom in a tiny little apartment. We quickly learn that Bubby’s Mom is sexually, physically, and mentally abusive. Bubby is convinced that outside is poison and has never left the apartment. Eventually, Bubby escapes the apartment and we see him go on a journey of self discovery. Bubby explores the world, goes to prison, gets out, joins a band, and even falls in love!

Bubby is very different. He can only speak by repeating things he has heard and does not know the definition of personal space. He has a lot to learn in his new world, especially since it keeps changing around him.

Bad Boy Bubby Still

Bad Boy Bubby delivers on “disturbing” in every sense of the word. We have animal cruelty, incest, gratuitous nudity, murder, rape, and other levels of disturbing that you didn’t even know disturbed you until you saw it. I could have done without the animal cruelty but everything else is well timed and what it needs to be.

This film is often praised and well known as being ground breaking for Australian cinema. De Heer offered a lot of new filming techniques and paid special attention to detail. For example, actor Nicholas Hope was outfitted with binaural microphones sewn into his wig above the ears. This was done so that the audience could “hear” what Bubby hears. This is very obvious in select scenes. Especially when Bubby is in one room and other characters are in another. There were also 31 Directors of Photography because Bubby’s environment changes so frequently and De Heer wanted the viewer to capture the same “discovery” that Bubby was having. The Directors were not allowed to work alongside each other or reference each other’s work.

Bubby is actually very likable. You feel terribly for him and his quirks make you want to see more. This is a comedy, after all. You will feel a rollar coaster of emotion over the course of the film. Not every character Bubby comes across is bad, either. It’s an accurate portrayal of real life social interactions. As stated before, Bubby joins a band and the members look out for him and he also finds love. Getting through the “low points” of the film come with a large pay off.

I did not expect to like this film is much as I did. Bad Boy Bubby won me over and will win you over, too. I really wanted to dislike it since it started off so strong, but I just couldn’t do that. I didn’t even get to cover all of Bubby’s adventures. The film is so experimental, it really doesn’t have a plot except for “Bubby”. And that’s okay. Give it a change and you won’t be disappointed. Besides, that Bubby album is fire.

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