Bruiser (2000)

I expected a lot from Bruiser, a new movie from my old pal George A. Romero, which arrived on Belgian (?) DVD with very little fanfare.  It’s a nice concept, about a man who is ignored to the point where he wakes up with a blank white mask for a face. The cast includes several strange choices:  Jason Flemyng plays the lead without ever really earning our sympathy, or explaining why a Cockney is working in Toronto, and Peter Stormare plays the ‘villain’ with more charm than the part deserves.

There’s the political subtext and the deliberate pacing and clever visuals you expect from George, and there’s some neat acting from a host of semi-familiar faces in the supporting cast, but you get the impression that he doesn’t really know where to go with the idea.

The later release of the movie on DVD in more accessible markets, with a commentary by Romero, meant I had to buy it again. I’m no wiser now, but George is as genial as always and the movie works better second time around. It’s no more disturbing, apart from finding out that the teenage girl dancing in a bikini is George’s little daughter. The first time he’s ever seemed embarrassed.

File this under ‘interesting failures’ and wait for Dead 4.


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