In 2000, Bruiser, one of the lesser-mentioned and lesser-known films by the late George Romero, appeared in theaters.
Once again, the brilliant American director created something original and entertaining, although sadly, the public snubbed him.
The story follows the vicissitudes of an ordinary man with a beautiful wife and a lovely house still under construction.
He seems happy and has everything he needs, including an excellent job for a famous fashion agency.
However, looking closer at his life, we quickly understand that it is just a charade of compromises and lies.
His job is insignificant since his boss is a screaming, despotic maniac who ignores his every advice.
His wife cheats on him, fitting with his boss, saying in his face her disgust because he is a coward who never rebels.
Moreover, his best friend has stolen most of his investment money, using it to buy a luxurious new car.
When he reaches the top of tolerance, one morning, he wakes up and looks in the mirror to discover that he no longer has a face.
Instead, there is a mask without an identity, something he had done the afternoon before at a party, but now he can no longer take it off.
Suddenly he feels free and happy, like losing his face has made him reborn in something different.
He decides at that point that it’s finally time to square accounts with all those that took advantage of him in his life.
The darkness behind the masks everyone wears
Despite its simple appearance and clean, straightforward direction, the film is very complex and layered.
Each dialogue contains funny and ironic jabs at capitalism and ruthless American careerism.
Indeed, the protagonist endures every humiliation to maintain the lifestyle for himself and his wife.
When she also rejects him mercilessly, any reason to continue being a coward disappears for good.
The mask he wakes up with, paradoxically, takes away the mask of a useless man he’s been wearing his whole life.
His boss character is simply phenomenal, embodying the ultimate evil of conscienceless depravity.
Everyone around him strives to fulfill his wishes, obeying the most absurd orders and tolerating his vulgar arrogance and ignorance.
We can all remember within our lives getting such a boss, people who poison the work environment by their power.
We also wear a mask in those moments, laughing at silly jokes and pranks just to be sure of our paycheck.
Yet if we should rip off that fiction, just like the protagonist, who knows what the hell of violence would come out.
In conclusion, Bruiser is a brilliant film that brings George Romero‘s irony to the fullest in the distant days of the 2000s.
The silence of one of the greatest cinematographic masters ever
I will never understand the mystery of the sudden interruption in the filmography of this magnificent director.
In 2009 his last film, Survival of the Dead, was released in his cinemas, produced with a low budget independently.
That movie marked the end of his zombie saga from 1968 with the horror masterpiece Night of the Living Dead.
Afterward, nobody produced one of his movies anymore, despite his scripts, until he died in 2017.
It was almost ten years of silence, a long nothing where the master could have indeed created something new.
A time that, unfortunately, we will never get back and that the stupidity of big productions has wasted for no reason.
Bruiser was another failure at the box office in 2000, unfortunately for George Romero, who was coming from the flop of the previous film, The Dark Half.
Once again, I could not explain the reason for this failure.
It has a crazy and intriguing story, fast-paced and not pretentious or difficult to understand.
The cast was little known, but all very capable, starting with the main character Jason Flemyng.
An ordinary-looking actor who wasn’t a handsome star, but he can act very well.
Simply immense than the insane Peter Stormare, as cruel as he is funny, exasperating everyone as an authoritarian leader.
Finally very good also Leslie Hope, who plays the resigned beautiful and clever wife of the boss.
I think she was an underrated actress, but I only remember her in a TV series 24.
I hope we’ll all re-evaluate Bruiser someday, like old movies before 2000, even without significant directors like George Romero.
In the meantime, we who know of its existence instead enjoy it and watch it whenever we can.