10 June 2002 | TimothyP
Blue Velvet's Nicer Nephew
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 One day, he wakes up to find that his face has been replaced by a featurless white mask...what does this say about his identity?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.