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Romero's finest since "Day of the Dead"
rundbauchdodo18 June 2001
A man awakes one morning without his face - and he decides to take revenge on all people who betrayed him in a way.

This, in short, is the story of George A. Romero's first feature film since 1992's "The Dark Half", a decent if not really convincing adaption of Stephen King's story of the same title. And even though "Bruiser" is not a very spectacular or action- and goreloaded picture, it undoubtedly is Romero's finest film since his third zombie-epic "Day of the Dead" back in 1985.

It's a unique movie, rather quiet and sensibly developed: something You've see far too rarely in the last few years. The acting is also first rate, above all Jason Flemyng as the lead character. Peter Stormare is once again delicious, this time as the eccentric, sex-mad publisher of the "Bruiser"-magazine (you never really get to know what the magazine is all about, but it is obviously kind of a lifestyle magazine) and therefore Flemyng's character's boss. Stormare's enthusiastic acting is everything but annoying.

There is also some well placed humor in the picture, which has been present in most of Romero's films, only that this time it's more obvious than in his earlier pictures. The humor doesn't destroy the melancholy touch, though, that makes all of Romero's pictures so unique.

An audience who expects to see another "Dawn of the Dead" or "Creepshow" surely will be disappointed at first - but who ever said that "Bruiser" is a pure horror movie? It is more similar to "Martin" or even (in a metaphoric way) "The Crazies". One thing that's out of question is that Romero proves himself to be a real auteur, and it's always good to see new films from him - especially after an eight-year hiatus!

Highly recommended.
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Underrated but Unique and Unusual film from Romero.
hu6759 April 2005
Writer and Director:George A. Romero nearly hits the bull's eye with this Clever darkly funny thriller. Henry Creedlow (Jason Flemyng), who has been always a nice guy sees that things are slowly changing around him. Herny has doubts about his cold hearted wife (Nina Garbiras), his best friend (Andrew Tarbet) and his sleazy overbearing boss (Peter Stormare). The only person that Herny truly finds as a sympathetic friend is the boss' wife (Leslie Hope).

Henry also has doubts about his job and his personal life. In just one morning like any other day for Henry. He wakes up with a new face that is completely white and almost emotionless and he thinks that it is only a mask on his face or only a dream. But then he finds out it is for real. Stripped of everything he has, including his identity. Henry takes all of his frustrations by going out on a bloody rampage. He is set to murder those who have betrayed him like his wife, a close friend and especially his boss.

This was Romero's last film until the upcoming long awaited Zombie film "Land of the Dead". This latest feature will be coming out this summer. Romero has not made a film since the Underrated "The Dark Half" (1993). In "Bruiser", Romero shows a unique style to this film and it looks totally different than most of his pictures. The only real fault in Bruiser is the last 20 minutes of the film should have ended more compellingly. However it is closer to the original premise that Romero wanted to film. It is still a very good and very underrated film.

Sadly, this independent production never received a Theatrical Release in North America but been released instead in Europe. It got released to video instead and received an Cult Following. What made this film work is the difficult lead role of Flemyng. His performance is extremely good and he adds depth with an amusing sense of humour. Simply because Flemyng gives a terrific performance. Stormare gives an amusing over the top performance as the film's unsuspected villain. Tom Atkins (Which Atkins worked with Romero before in bit parts in "Creepshow" and "Two Evil Eyes") are also star in the Film. Even Romero's Family appears in Cameos, including his wife (Christine Forrest Romero), His Daughter (Tina) and His Son (Andrew).

This film maybe be flawed at times (Because the film never really fully explained the curse of Herny's.) Still, the film packs a certain punch. It is certainly one of his most Unusual films along with "Martin" and "Knightriders". One of the film's highlights are seeing The Punk Horror Rock Band:The Misfits appears as Themselves at the Climax and the film features a Good jazzy music score by Donald Rubinstein.

DVD has an fine anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) transfer and an good:Dolby 2.0 Stereo Surround Sound. DVD extras are an running commentary by the director and producer:Peter Grunwald, a music video by the Misfits and trailers. The film may be far from Romero's best films but it is nice to see Romero directed another film in years. Let's just hope his latest film "Land of the Dead" will be a huge hit and big comeback for Romero. Bruiser is worth a look. (*** ½/*****).
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The Revenge Face
robotman-129 October 2001
In BRUISER, evidence of a surreal paranormal event is almost perfectly captured on film by George Romero. The film's protagonist, Henry, weakly worms him way through life until the morning he awakens to find a blank, white mask where his real face once was. At one point, it's suggested the mask frees Henry to indulge in his rage fantasies, and then to logically murder those who have wronged him. Henry's innate goodness won't allow him to kill innocent people, but it's interesting to see that Romero never apologizes for Henry's murder fantasies. Henry is, like all of us, capable of brutal, heinous acts, if only in our heads.

As an idea, Henry's "Faceless" identity is fascinating, as it is believed that Henry has psychically formed the blank face from the material of his submerged rage. The problem becomes when Henry, and the film, decides to become parody, amused by the circumstance of the Faceless-ness. Henry's revenge, when he takes it on the vile cast of his wife, his boss, and his best friend/financer, does not reflect Henry's rage. The revenge is muted and lacking real anger, though much is made of what Henry will do when he goes after these people.

Romero made possibly his technically-finest film only to lose the incredible surreal event that changed his believable, solid main character into a vengeance machine, which weakens the story and its conclusion considerably. The instant Henry understands that the mask is truly HIS face is a great moment, and there are moments in BRUISER that stand up well with the best Romero has done.

It should also be pointed out that Romero comes from another time and mentality in filmmaking, when the idea of sex, sex by naked people, on-screen, in all it's almost-realism, was not ignored and disregarded...namely the 1970s, when there was something to be said for people getting it on that didn't require cutaways and soft lenses. It's almost refreshing in these puritanical days of zero-actual-sex in films, and talk talk talk of sex in every medium, and the threat of sex on "real TV" shows, to find Romero willing to show a little legs over the shoulders. Even if everyone who has sex in BRUISER is unrepentant scum, that still doesn't change the fact that we, the viewer, are witness to sex that isn't a slow-motion fantasia starring Jeremy Irons.

BRUISER is a fascinating film that suddenly unravels at the end, like an old baseball hit too hard. Still worth it, just for the great attempt at something original by an original, in Romero.
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The Cinema of George A. Romero.
Captain_Couth21 February 2005
Bruiser (2000) was the long awaited return for horror film maker George A. Romero. While it was great to see old George back in action, the end results were a mix bag. A pseudo thriller about a brow beaten man who wakes up one day without a face! The guy uses this new (or lack of) identity to strike back at those who have wronged him in the past. Will this new face have any drawbacks? Can George A. Romero still make a watchable movie? You'll just have to watch Brusier!

The movie wasn't bad (but it's neither a classic) like some people have stated. It was a chance for Romero to get back into action after many film projects have died on the vine in the past ten years. He made a watchable movie on a real tight budget. Let's hope he'll get the opportunity to make more films.

Recommended for fans of George A. Romero. Others will not be so forgiving.
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Maybe this is why Romero hasn't been making so many films
BrandtSponseller2 April 2005
Jason Flemyng plays Henry Creedlow, the peon poster child, in this unusual film from George Romero. Flemyng's wife constantly berates him. She's having affairs behind his back. His boss is a jerk. His "best friend" takes advantage of him. He gets no respect at work. Even his maid is ripping him off. He feels faceless, and so he becomes. Can Henry find his identity? What will he have to do to get one?

Unfortunately, a large part of what makes this film unusual for George Romero is that it's so bad. Nothing in it ever quite works, although I had hopes for the first five minutes, before Romero began his attempt to tell a story/allegory.

There are a couple things that aren't complete disasters. The cinematography is nice enough, the production design isn't bad (and there are a couple fabulous eye candy homes), the music is okay, and there are appearances by Tom Atkins, one of my favorite character actors, and The Misfits, who are at least interesting. That's it. Those are the sole reasons I gave this a 3 rather than a 1 or 2.

In a nutshell, the problem with Bruiser is this: there's not so much a story as a collection of "quirky touches". Romero, who both wrote and directed, doesn't bother to explain anything, but there are a number of things that are very weird. Now, I'm usually a big fan of weirdness, surrealism, etc. But beneath the quirky touches, there is an extremely pedestrian story with a revenge motif. At one point, there must have been a script (Romero admits they had many rewrites) that had Bruiser as more of a noirish thriller, although only the slightest hints of it remain. The combination makes the quirky touches more annoying than satisfying. They don't seem authentic. Romero has never seemed like a surrealist/absurdist and it doesn't ring true here either. So it's difficult to say why the quirky touches are there except that Romero was aiming for metaphor and allegory. But that aspect doesn't work, either, because he tends to bash you over the head with his metaphors. They're so obvious and advertised that they no longer function as metaphors, but just a very incoherent script.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about above. Creedlow works for a magazine named Bruiser. Yet, it's a fashion magazine. Why is there a fashion magazine named Bruiser? Who would buy that? We're never told. I figured that maybe it was going to be the last name of the publisher, Milo (Peter Stormare). It wasn't, his last name is Styles (wouldn't that guy in that industry name his magazine "Styles" in that case?). If Bruiser had been Milo's last name, that would have made it nicely ironic, but still sellable in the context of the story. It's probably still supposed to be ironic, and a commentary on the fashion/beauty industries. But it's too in-your-face to work the way it's presented. Additionally, we spend a lot of time at the magazine--in the offices, with the publisher, with other employees in various social situations--so why don't we learn more about the magazine and the personalities involved in it? All we know is that there's a fashion magazine named Bruiser, and they pick out cover models by hanging a number of pictures on a lightboard and "voting". That's it.

Another example: Stormare is extremely annoying as Milo. He's supposed to be over-the-top and annoying, but it's too ridiculous to work, unless intended as comedy (it isn't, and it isn't particularly funny unintentionally, either) or absurdism, but remember that Romero isn't really an absurdist so it seems inauthentic as that. Obviously, we have to see Milo as one of the primary villains and that's why Romero has Stormare play the part this way. Instead, I saw Romero as one of the primary villains for his direction; he should have reeled Stormare in. It also made me hate Creedlow instead, because he should have killed Milo in the beginning, at the meeting (if the film would have more followed Creedlow's fantasizing, Romero might have had something).

There are also many examples in the details. For example, why does Creedlow walk to his train station in the middle of the street? Is he trying to get hit by a car? Or, why would anyone have a party where they make masks that are like those awful 1980s porcelain-white, featureless wall hangings, and then ask guests to paint them? It takes awhile to paint something, it takes supplies, etc. What kind of party would that be and why do we only see one person (Creedlow) working on it? Again, this is instead a heavy handed metaphor, but ridiculous for that. There must be better ways to show people putting on false public faces at social events.

For that matter, Henry's facelessness was just as heavy-handed. The production design, with the unfinished house, served the same purpose and was much more subtle and effective. Why not just stick with it, or come up with something less ridiculous? Probably Romero figured we wouldn't pick up on the metaphors if they weren't advertised in neon. We're not idiots, George.

Even Tom Atkins ended up annoying me, because he was mired in all of these garish metaphorical non-sequiturs (the "masquerade party" of the climax really irritated me). If I end up not liking Atkins, something is seriously wrong.

Although Bruiser turns into a thriller with a number of death scenes, these are poorly staged, with minimalist effects. Probably Romero was trying to distance himself from his past work. With the exception of the maid, most of the death scenes are lame and relatively bloodless. Yet the film still got an R. At least give us something more visceral to make up for the awful script. Horror fans, with their past support, enabled Romero to make Bruiser. Don't just tease us and walk away.
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Blue Velvet's Nicer Nephew
TimothyP10 June 2002
But not in the way we were led to suspect from the packaging. If you believe the box, Bruiser is a thrilling joy ride from acclaimed director Romero, or something like that.

What Bruiser really is is psychological melodrama/thriller, mixed in with some wicked black comedy. Jason Flemying is excellent as Henry, and Stormare surprised me incredibly as the flamboyant, bad-ass publisher of the in-movie magazine, entitled (what else?) "Bruiser."

I've grown used to seeing character actor Stormare in character roles, usually benign or slightly creepy (Dancer In The Dark, Million Dollar Hotel), and Flemying as vaguely menacing (Lock,, Stock; From Hell), but here both actors play against their normal image to reveal great depths of skill...both are totally believable in their roles, which adds a lot to the film.

For those who know nothing about it...Flemying plays a mag exec who is downtrodden and stomped on by nearly everybody...Romero really makes you feel the depths of Hell this poor guy's in. One day, he wakes up to find that his face has been replaced by a featurless white mask...what does this say about his identity? Who IS this faceless man?

Over the rest of the film, Flemying and Romero explore the subject ruthlessly (with plenty of violence, of course, because, well, this is George Romero here)...and the viewer is left with a conundrum similar to the end of a Lynch film: Did this happen? And if it happened, well...what next?

For lovers of challenging film, this one is a keeper....bizarre, disturbing, and ultimately meaningful, this is Blue Velvet's benign nephew. Go see it or rent it ASAP.
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Identity Crisis
claudio_carvalho1 July 2007
The young executive of a publicity agency Henry Creedlow (Jason Flemyng) is a man that has repressed morbid thoughts and is walked over by most of his acquaintances: his wife is cheating him with his boss and stealing money of his investments with his best friend; his housemaid is frequently stealing his house and offending him in Spanish; even his annoying poodle does not respect him. While in his daily morning routine listening to a talk show on the radio, he hears a man committing suicide live because he had been felt miserable and disrespected for a long time, and Henry feels impressed with the tragic event. On the next morning, he wakes up with his face covered by a white mask, changing his personality and seeking revenge against those that have humiliated him.

"Bruiser" is a very weird and one of the worst (if not the worst) movies of George A. Romero. The theme about a man that has a breakdown after years of failure and bad treatment, causing the loss of his identity and making him faceless to murder those that have somehow damaged his life is original, but something does not work well in the screenplay of this movie. In my opinion, the character of Henry should be more developed before the supernatural mask appears in his face, and the behavior of the nasty and extravagant character of Milo Styles, performed by Peter Stormare, should be more restrained to make him believable. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "A Máscara do Terror" ("The Mask of Terror")
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I wished I had two bruised, swollen eyes...
lschollmeyer12 April 2002
so that watching this piece of tripe might have been less painful. Then again, I would have had to listen to the dialogue.

Speaking of which, GAR needs to stop reading Mickey Spillane when it comes to cop dialogue. "Dame"? "Cup of joe"? Those references went out in, uh, 1955.

The concept of the doormat-cum-revenge seeker is fine, but the delivery just plain sucks. For example, the first kill is the maid, and made no sense's even her first scene! There's no prior information that she's been stealing or anything, yet the first thing we hear is her loudly throwing silverware into a bag. Riiight. And she doesn't fit the mold of the next victims...all of whom have been deceitful and cheating for years.

Next is this mask thing he's supposed to be wearing. Dumb. There can be other, better ways a person can lose his identity.

And the relationship with Rosie. Wha? How did that happen? Where did it come from? There's nothing is the supposed backstory that shows why she would even give him the time of day, plus it does little for the overall story plot.

And the death scene of the Overacted Czech. A death laser. Sure. I guess it was nothing more than a stupid scene to a fantastically stupid movie.
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A showcase for the limits of the director.
dbborroughs25 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Odd George Romero film that barely was released originally and barely written up until home video is change of pace for the horror master, but its also a clear indication of Romero's limitations as a director. Feeling more like his misfire There's Always Vanilla/ Season of the Witch this is the story of a magazine executive who is being raked over the coals by everyone in his life. Waking up with a featureless mask for a face he decides to get revenge on those who wronged him. Feeling unremarkable and like almost any other independent film this is a cookie cutter film. Frankly had Romero not directed it I don't think it would have gotten any notice what so ever. The craft of the film has no spark and is extremely run of the mill and unimaginative. Watching it its clear that Romero directed it, there is something about the way his films look and feel,and comparing this film to his other films makes everything else he's done all the more surprising. Why do many of his other films work and this one doesn't? I don't know. Removing his Stephen King adaptations and zombie films I think its pure dumb luck that everything comes together. Here he's got an intriguing idea but how Romero tells the story just lays on the table like a dead fish. Its not a complete waste of a film, there are some interesting ideas about identity and the cast is good, but its also really dull. Lower tier Romero and for fans only.
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All dressed up and....
Kazetnik11 April 2008
There is about 20 minutes of interesting movie here, in the opening preamble and in the grand guignol of the masquerade party. In between, this is poor.

I love Romero films, for, amongst other things, their mixture of grotesque violence and gallows humour. With Bruiser, apart from the delicious viciousness of the set-up of our faceless non-hero, this provided some peculiar and unsatisfactory combination of Zorro and Death Wish, without atmosphere, coherence or even any real energy. Did the whole budget get blown on the set for the masquerade? I wanted to like it, was expecting to at least enjoy it in a time-passing way, and was only bored and frustrated by it.
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Well written, well directed
beatjunkie5 April 2001
I got the chance to see Bruiser at a small screening in the presence of George A. Romero himself when he visited my college campus. I thought it was very interesting, a well written story as well as tightly directed. At the time I met with Romero, he wasn't sure if it would be released theatrically or move straight to video/DVD. He did tell me that it was produced by a small Canadian film company and may not be released in the U.S. for quite some time. Still, the Romero fans that I watched this with seemed to enjoy every second of it, as did I. I would refer this film to anyone who enjoys the dark comedy/cult classics such as Pulp Fiction or A Clockwork Orange.
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Romero's worst (spoiler)
shaun9813 April 2002
Warning: Spoilers
"Bruiser" is George Romero's worst film to date. It's been nearly a decade since the last time he went behind the cameras (1993's "The Dark Half"), and judging from the results, it might be another decade before he puts anything else out. If this is the best he can do, he should consider retirement.

Rarely have a cult director's fans waited so long to watch so little. Romero's work is usually pretty decent at least, but this is a joke. Underneath this tedious mess, there's the germ of a good idea or two. Issues of identity and modern-day shallowness are treated in a ponderous, superficial manner. There's little excitement or tension to be found, and at times, one actually forgets this is meant to be a horror movie instead of a standard revenge pic.

Peter Stormare, as Flemyng's boss, is trapped in the most thankless role in the film. His character is overbearing and obnoxious in the extreme, and the viewer is tempted to send him some mail bombs so that he may never torment us again.

The climatic rock concert is a low for Romero, and only exists to promote some band. Come on, the guy who gave us the brilliant "Dawn of the Dead" is reduced to this?!?!?

I will only forgive this transgression if Romero gets his act together and makes "Twilight of the Dead."

* (out of ****)

Released by Le Studio Canal Plus through Lions Gate Films
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Has Romero really fallen this far?
hitchs6 October 2005
This has to be one of the worst movies ever made; I know that's a cliché, but I can't remember a more pointless, stupid film than this. The story is just dumb. The dialogue is appalling. The direction is, at best, erratic. The only notable performance is Peter Stormare's, and that is only memorable because it is so absurdly over-the-top. Any possible credibility the movie would have had went out the window when we were expected to believe that a magazine could be even published, let alone successful, with this idiot in charge. The Living Dead movies are horror classics because they show originality, intelligence and directorial flair, as well as being genuinely scary - all qualities that are conspicuously absent from Bruiser.
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Just as well this didn't make it to theaters...
timothycarey21 November 2001
...which isn't meant as a dis. Much.

Like other GAR fans, I was troubled by his first trip straight-to-video -- how come Wes Craven's and John Carpenter's crap get the big stars and a chance to "open wide"? After seeing it, however, I'm sort of grateful, since this is no kind of blockbuster, no how. In fact, _Bruiser_ is so subdued, I can't imagine an audience in a arena-sized theater sitting still for its modest thrills.

Not as bad as the Ain't It Cool crowd seemed to suggest, but nowhere near his 70's peak, _Bruiser_ is another "could'a been" that has marked all of Romero's work since _Knightriders_ (except, of course, for the travesty of _Two Evil Eyes_, which was more like a "shouldn't'a been"). The performances -- except Peter Stormare, in his worst performance, keeping Romero's track record of at least one instance of teeth-grindingly abysmal acting (at least he's down to one these days) -- are generally fine and the storyline is compelling enough, if not heart-stopping. It ends pretty poorly, as well, setting itself up for...sequels?!?

Ah, but...this really is Romero's most accomplished piece of directing. For a guy who loves Michael Powell so much, I've always wondered why his films looked so lame. The chiariascuro meets the (climactic) garish here without clashing and the camera has more poise than anything in his career to date. Mind you, Romero didn't exactly make his name with poise, and a little more of his legendary crescendi of abject tension would have gone a long way to making this more successful.

So, GAR makes _The Phantom of American Beauty_...but it's surely worth renting all the same, without undue expectations. Here's hoping his project with _Knightriders_ own Ed Harris, _The Assassination_, gets a green light and lights a fire under this truly underrated director's truly capacious posterior, so that he may yet claim his rightful title as one of America's finest independent filmmakers.
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interesting idea, but not developed...
thanatonaute27 July 2001
Many people consider 'Bruiser' as a very bad film. I sure won't acclaim it as a truly good movie but still I think it isn't as bad as people say.

I think the tag line misses its purpose. 'Revenge has no face' what is that supposed to mean? It is because Henry (J. Flemyng) could just stop existing and nothing would be changed because he has yet no value as an individual that he loses his face. Only then he realizes how bad the people he considers as his friends treat him. Only then he starts the self-justice. I find this idea quite interesting and Romero develops it several times a bit more when we see what Henry imagines and somehow wants to do but doesn't dare to do.

But sadly we don't get more out of this. From then on the film only shows Henry's killings and some useless sex scenes.

Overall I've still found the movie above average and recommend it to those who want to watch a bit more philosophic action movie. But real fans of Romero or movie buffs sure will be disappointed.
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Vastly-Underrated Romero
myboigie26 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
If you ever wanted to break your fists on your boss's head, this is your movie! People expected zombies with Bruiser, which is pretty dumb, eh? It's a tale right out of Kafka, and could best be described as an 'inverted-horror' where you root-for-the 'monster'. The monster isn't really a monster at all, but a poor-schmuck (Henry Creedlow, played-expertly by Jason Flemyng from 'Lock, Stock...') who works at a corporate ad-agency run by an out-of-control boss who was once a Yugoslavian-dissident! The boss is played by that great Swedish actor, Peter Stormare (Fargo, and the cool VW ads--'pre-pimped!'), and he really understands that this is a fable. Henry Creedlow also has a 'best-friend' who is also his stock-broker. It's revealed later that he's also betraying Henry by embezzling-funds from his portfolio. And Creedlow's 'boss' is also sleeping-with his monstrous-wife, who is so cold and cruel that...they all destroy his identity. He literally (but NOT literally, since this is an allegory/parable) loses his face, and thus, who he was. He literally wakes-up one morning, goes to his bathroom mirror, and notices he has no face. Naturally, he drops-out of his routine and has to hide this fact until he can fix-it.

The image of Henry's transformation is bizarre: just a smooth, white, fleshy-mask with a mouth as his only means-of-expression, almost a 'routine' out of Naked Lunch. It's a pretty subversive film, and it angers the right-people, which is OK. It has to be said that it looks great, too, and Romero's rapid-editing is smooth and ever-present. In-time, he realizes that the only way he can regain himself is by killing his wife, his boss, and everyone-else who has compromised his sense-of-self and dignity. Yes, it's a story where we root-for the 'monster', only the real monsters are the so-called 'victims', his oppressors who have robbed-him of identity by their daily-sleights and betrayals of this man. In this sense, the film advocates a kind of revolution of the mind, and ponders the whole concept of identity. For this reason, it's an existentialist-film. This is why many so-called horror-fans didn't like it--it's smarter than they are, which isn't hard in America.

Very little of this film is meant to be literal, however, it's a story that is very expressionist, allegorical, and therefore-psychological. If you ever had a bad-marriage (and brother, do I know that gig), and if you ever had a boss or co-workers you simply wished were run-over by a train (a great scene realizes this fantasy!), this is YOUR film. We can beat our so-called superiors by outwitting-them, the battlefield is a psychological-one where the individual must assert-themselves or be conquered. This is much of the American workplace, folks, it isn't pretty. Romero's films are always political in some way, and Bruiser is no-exception. His usual-subtext is anti-capitalist, which is somehow exotic to many North Americans, though not the rest of the world (especially Latin America, right-now in 2006).

After all, America is capitalism. I have to say again that Flemyng is incredible in this film, and a performance that would have done Lon Chaney (not Jr.) proud. Also great is the performance of Tom Atkins (The Fog, Escape From New York, Two Evil Eyes, etc.) who plays the detective investigating all of Creedlow's 'crimes'. He paints an accurate-picture of the impotence of cops in an American society where money and power negate most law-and-order. The rest of the cast is comprised of some of the finest Canadian actors, too, everyone is very solid.

So why is it so hard for people to make films for adults? I understand that sometimes you just want to turn the brain off, and escape--that's fine. This is probably at-the-heart of why some don't like this film. It reminds-them of how shitty their jobs are! Granted, but how-long are we going to run-away from our problems? Bruiser also challenges the individual to do something about-it, which I applaud. Romero literally had to screen the movie in major-cities with his own money! Why is a man in his sixties gutsier than all these young-directors? Because he isn't a coward. Bruiser is scary because most of it is an accurate-reflection of how sick our culture is. People sublimate their individuality to the demands of power, and rarely even ponder why they do it. They accept the values of conquerors unconsciously, sleep-walking through life, and hurting people without much regard at all. All in the name of money and comfort. Suck on that, Roger Ebert.
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davealmost12 August 2000
great film from this modern master. he cleverly slices in social commentary about a man that loses his identity only to take revenge on those who have perpetually wronged him his entire life. a definite must see for anyone that has enjoyed romeros other work. this film is also chock full of black humor which bites the viewer and adds to the incredible feel of the movie.
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Classic dark comedy
tarzan6112 September 2004
This movie isn't a scary horror film, but it's a classic. Faceless is one of the killers out for vengeance that has you rooting for him. The evil boss Milo (played by that guy who starred as Slippery Pete in the classic Senifeld episode) really needs to, though he has some funny lines. It really not very serious in some ways, and some stuff and hilarious. It's never really been billed that way, but that's what it is. This is the first Romero flick I've seen, and I thinkhe does very well. Can't wait to see his Dead series. As for this one, it's a fun horror classic. Go get it.

"Hey creep! You wanna free peak?"
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Total waste of time
flinkan20 January 2002
I watch a lot of films but this must be one of the worst time-wasters ever. I totally fail to see the point of this film, providing it even had one.

Story revolves around a guy who has no balls whatsoever and because of this get walked upon by practically everyone around him, at work, at home, everywhere. This upsets "our hero" and for some unknown reason, a mask appears on his face, apparently being one with his own skin. Whilst wearing this mask, he takes revenge on those who has "wronged" him. In other words, instead of showing *some* balls and maybe once in a while be so daring as to talk back to people, he instead just kills them off in different innovative ways. His victims crimes varies between adultery and verbal abuse (his wife) to having a foul mouth and a sexist behavior (his boss). Oh, almost forgot, his best friend, who stole money from him but offered to pay them back and set things straight, he had to die too. That wasn't all of the killings but I will stop there as it is too boring to mention the rest of it. Also, whilst wearing this mask, he turns into an overly dramatic and extremely egoistic character who's long and tedious righteous talks are dreadful to listen to.

If you have set your mind on watching a film, ANY film, just to waste some time, go ahead and watch this film. But if you happen to value your time, don't waste it watching this total cack of a film.
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Splendid film for 3/4 of the way
cfisanick15 November 2001
The first 3/4 of George Romero's Kafka-esque, existential meditation on identity is so terrific, it's all the more frustrating that it falls apart with such a chintzy, uninspired last act. But until then, it ranks high in the Romero canon. It has a fascinating, irresistible plotline--similar to "Martin"--about one man's journey to discover his own identity, fine acting (particularly from Jason Flemyng and Leslie Hope, though Peter Stormare's goofy scenery chewing is an acquired taste), and beautiful production values, echoing the autumn of the protagonist's soul. (There is, in particular, one unforgettably haunting shot of shadows falling like tears on Flemyng's blank visage.) But Romero lets himself down with an unenthusiastic, the-well-ran-dry conclusion. It's as though he left the Toronto set to go back to Pittsburgh for the weekend when these scenes were shot. Despite those who claim that Romero's films are merely E.C. comic books brought to life, his films are always much deeper than that and reflect a very sophisticated philosophical view of life and the universe, in the manner of Greek or Shakespearean tragedy. In any event, this is a film whose reputation should soar about ten years from now.
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I thought it was OK but it's certainly not for everyone.
poolandrews12 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Bruiser tells the tale of Henry Creedlow (Jason Flemyng) who works as an executive on a fashion magazine called 'Bruiser' & he apparently lets everyone 'walk all over him' according to just about everyone he know's. Henry's boss is an a-hole & is having an affair with his wife Janine (Nina Garbiras) who is also stealing lots of money off Henry in partnership with his best friend James (Andrew Tarbet) & even his maid Mariah (Tamsin Kelsey) is stealing off him. Henry has become a nobody, he has lost all his identity & has become a faceless drone in the crowd who no-one notices or cares about to such an extent that Henry wakes up one morning to find his face has been replaced with a featureless, colourless white mask with no identifying features. Henry uses this bizarre twist of fate to his own advantage & sets out to punish those who wronged him & turned him into the faceless entity he has become...

This French, Canadian & American co-production was written & directed by George A. Romero who has had a somewhat erratic career & Bruiser was in fact his first directorial film in seven years him not having directed anything since the Stephen King adaptation The Dark Half (1993) which is actually better than Bruiser but that's another story & after he had directed Bruiser it was another five years before he directed again with Land of the Dead (2005) which is also better than Bruiser but that too is another story. So, in the space of twelve long years Romero who was hailed as the greatest horror director of his generation during the late 70's & early 80's after making genre classics like Night of the Living Dead (1968), Martin (1977), Dawn of the Dead (1978), Creepshow (1982) & Day of the Dead (1985) only made one film, this. Bruiser is a departure from what Romero usually makes in one sense that Bruiser is an off-beat somewhat odd-ball psychological thriller rather than a straight horror flick but but it does retain Romero's penchant for social commentary as the whole film revolves around the idea of a man being a faceless entity in today's uncaring society & finally snapping in order to gain back his identity. As a basic high brow concept I thought the idea was fine & I quite liked some of the ideas & themes Romero explores here & I actually related to some of them (especially the fantasy Henry had about squishing the rude woman's head under the train wheels!) but I don't think the film does much with them & ends up like a boring slasher film as Henry kills a few of the people he doesn't like & that's about it. At almost 100 odd minutes the film goes on for quite a while & I did start to get bored with the concept well before the end, the supporting character's are all very unlikable which doesn't help & although it tries to be challenging, relevant & meaningful I personally didn't really take much from the film.

Those looking at Romero's past films & hoping for some horror & gore will surely be disappointed with Bruiser, there's a brief scene in which a woman has her head squashed by a train although nothing too graphic is shown, a man is shot in the chest, there's a dream sequence in which Henry commits suicide by shooting himself in the head, a woman is hanged & that's about it. Was I the only one who thought Henry looked daft with that white mask face? I thought he looked like one of those stereotypical French mime artists with white face paint! There's no real scares here, the film has a nice clean middle class look to it but there's no atmosphere.

According to the IMDb this had a budget of about $5,000,000 which does surprise me somewhat, I can't really see where all that money went to be honest. Bruiser was the first film directed by Romero not to be made in or around Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, it was actually filmed in Ontario in Canada. The acting is pretty good from a decent cast although Peter Stormare as the annoyingly obnoxious Milo Styles was a little OTT for me while genre favourite Tom Atkins has a fun role as a cynical cop.

Bruiser is certainly something a bit different although while I did like the concept I don't think enough was done with it & to be frank Romero is better than this & should stick to straight horror which he thankfully largely has.
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danhainfit9 November 2007
Aside from this being another well written and well directed film by Mr. Romero, having Tom Atkins (Night of the Creeps, Halloween 3) and The Misfits (The Michale Graves Era Misfits) makes this movie so much more cooler. The story follows the main character who even as a adult is still greatly picked on and belittled. He wakes up one morning without a face and decides to go after those who have wronged him. Call it a revenge film if you want, I call it fun.

If you watch the DVD of Bruiser, be sure to watch the music video Romero directed for The Misfits. All the Misfits are zombies and are attacking a hospital. Very cool.
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Different and intelligent
jacksonblueman622 October 2001
I was so glad to hear about this even though it was not released at theaters near me. However, I rented it, and it was awesome. In a world of Screams and Urban Legends, it's about time a real horror movie director actually directs something. George Romero creates a movie about a man who has no real identity very well. I had to give this a 10 because all the other idiots had only given this a rating of 4.9. It's sad when Jay and Silent Bob have a higher score than this.
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respectable, but a stronger ending would have been appreciated
otis von zipper15 October 2001
This movie comes very close to the themes explored in Dark Half. That film looked at the darkness lurking in a person, and how our creative expression can be a release for those impulses. Bruiser looks at the negative affects of ignoring those impulses. I'd have to say that I enjoyed Bruiser more than Dark Half, but there are still a few problems. The biggest problem is the end, which really just doesn't amount to much. Hardly any payoff or drama. Also, Romero relies too much on creating major a**holes for his antagonists, and Bruiser has one of the biggest. Luckily, he got a decent actor, Peter Stormare, to add some depth to what could easily have been a one dimensional bad guy. All in all a decent film, just missing a strong ending.
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A confused jumble of different genres.
fedor88 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Romero is still being financed to make movies; this is quite surprising - considering he hasn't made a good (or successful?) movie in literally decades. And he has failed again, in spite of an offbeat premise which could have worked. The idea of a man "losing face" (in every sense of the phrase) and turning into an avenger of some kind is interesting early on, but after he kills his wife the film seems to suddenly run out of energy, ideas and even clarity. Namely, it is unclear whether this is supposed to be a real thriller, or some kind of a goof-off. One moment the main character is being very serious in analyzing his previous life as a failure, and the next there is a scene almost out of a ZAZ spoof; for example, when he tries to knock out the young guy in charge of the laser. He requires 2-3 hits on the back of his head, and then he finally knocks him out and the scene looks like something out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

In fact, the grand finale that never manages to be grand is what totally sinks the film. Almost everything that happens in the masked party is stupid or out-of-place. Stormare's character, Milo, is so exaggerated that I was never sure whether Romero wanted us to loathe him or find him amusing; and he can't be both loathsome and amusing (hence he ends up being neither). Milo simply comes off as ridiculous and unrealistic; someone who is constantly (apparently) on drugs and unaware of what is going on. So how is the viewer supposed to care about the whole revenge plot if the main "bad guy" is neither "bad", nor a real person, nor a clown, but a bit of all and none of them at the same time. Understood? Well, I didn't get it, either.

The lines of dialog in this part of the movie are amateurish at best, and the events, as well. The detectives are portrayed as dumb clowns, and this reminds me of a similar kind of childish disdain for authority (which exhibits itself in a childish manner in his movies) the Romero showed for the military in "Crazies". There is nothing worse than an old hippie who stays stupid.

There is also so much focus on the band Misfits that the finale came close to looking like a Misfits video rather than a part of a bigger plot.(This band is pretty awful: they wear skull-shaped paint on their faces and they are all ballooned up "schwarzeneggerially" with steroids, yet their songs are as cheerfully melodious as those of the early Madonna! It's like Tyrannosaurus Rex crying over spilt milk.) All in all, a point is being made about standing for yourself or some such flaccid nonsense, the characters are reduced to silly stereotypes or make no sense at all, and the dialog just gets dumber and dumber.
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