Friday, May 1, 2009

Bruiser (2001)

Fear 1/5
Gore 2/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 1/5
This is a follow-up review to one posted waaaaaay back. Complaint Dept. does a short and sweet (and hilarious) review that's hard to argue against. So if you'd rather see that, look here. Otherwise, read on....
Directed by George Romero, Bruiser is an interesting character study that ultimately gets weighed down by its own lofty goals and misdirection. Bruiser's main character is someone that most people can relate to as they have either been that person or have known someone just like him at some point during their life.
Henry is a mild mannered guy who works for a maniacal manager (played at varying levels of success by Peter Stormare) at a publicity agency. Always the type to please, Henry does everything he can to make his egotistical and just down right douchey boss happy. He always does his best to placate him only to be torn, built back up and then crushed again by his unreasonable expectations and flamboyantly crazy attitude.
Invited to a company get together over at his boss's house, Peter and his wife enjoy the over the top flaunting and brash party that's thrown by the main proprietor. He's close friends with his boss's wife (who also works at the agency) and she shows him her collection of painted masks.
She gives him one that is completely white and asks him to paint his own. In a way, symbolizing his own lost identity, Peter can't think of anything to paint. He then returns to the party where he notices his wife fondling the man parts of his boss.
He confronts his wife on the way home and she lashes out at him telling him that he's a nothing of a person and she thought she had married someone with greater aspirations than being the bitch and whipping post of his boss. She then leaves him after her brutal demeaning.
When he wakes up the next morning, he notices the unpainted, white mask has 'permanently' been affixed to his face. He gets ready for work and is ready to head out when he notices his maid stealing money out of his wallet. He flies into a rage, knocking her down to the ground with the swat of a silver candle holder, bashing her head in and killing her. Its this single act that sets him off as he no longer wants to be a person thats taken advantage off.
His downward spiral continues as he follows his wife who's meeting his boss for a conference room rendezvous at the agency. As the boss's wife catches him in action, and takes a couple of photos for divorce evidence, the dickwad boss runs out of the office to chase her down. Peter confronts his wife, gives her a neck tie party, using a coiled extension cord spool attached to a chair, he then kicks it out of the window which overlooks the street below and strings her up, breaking her neck.
Peter's cathartic release continues as he kills his best friend who's been stealing thousands of dollars from him over the years. He then begins to contemplate the death of his boss. The long drawn out plodding of this and his dialogue with the boss's wife who pleads with him to stop, starts to become a bit of a mired mess. Its almost as if Romero didn't know what to do next and his teetering between an all too certain resolve with the 'will he have a change of heart?' is kind of what kills the momentum. The thought of a faceless man who has lost all previously believed identity is a terrifying prospect and this was a film that could have been carried over the top. But in the end, it falls flat when it loses what should be its sole focus and intent. Not too mention Stormare's performance of the baddy boss becomes almost too over the top and comical and in the end, his death is something that you really don't give two shits about. I guess that is the main intent but it leaves the end feeling really hollow and devoid of any real closure.
Unlike Complaint Dept., I think this movie had loads of potential but ultimately, it just crash landed after a really great takeoff. I guess I've seen worse but on the whole, a bit of a let down.

Cortez the Killer

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