“If it was going to work,” says Aussie director Rolf de Heer on the Bad Boy Bubby chat-track, “it had to be out there.” De Heer’s diseased and cult-ish rogue fable goes out there all right. Queasily so, but with a fierce honesty. Its hero (Nicholas Hope) is a 35-year-old who has spent his life imprisoned by his abusive mother, killing feral cats to pass time. That’s uncomfortable, but it’s when this boy-man discovers the big, bad world – and its many pleasures – that things get barmy.
Rather than amp up the letch factor, de Heer and Hope play Bubby with fearless integrity. As de Heer’s reassuringly sane commentary reminds us, he used a new cinematographer for each setting and a “binaural” sound mix to immerse us in Bubby’s befuddled worldview. He’s buffeted sonically and visually, but so are we – extraordinarily so on headphones. He’s wild at heart and weird on top (check the hair), but we do kind of empathise with him. Out there? Sure, but it works.