Bruiser (2000)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Run Time - 99 min.  |   Countries - Canada , France , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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George A. Romero has always been noted for peppering his sometimes-gruesome horror yarns with a dash of social commentary, though with his latest effort the weight seems shifted, feeling more like social commentary with elements of minimal horror folded into the mix. Fans hearing the name Romero and expecting a horrific gore-fest will no doubt be disappointed in Bruiser's lack of graphic violence, though in considering such efforts as Season of the Witch (1973) and Knightriders (1981) the apparent departure from style might not be quite the shock it initially appears to be. Jason Flyming is well-suited to the role of the faceless, spineless everyman who savors the opportunity to avenge his identity in the face of those who callously took advantage of him in the past. His relationship with a co-worker (who also happens to be the boss' wife) gives the audience a chance to understand and sympathize with his plight, and his reactions to the trials life hands him offer viewers a chance to identify with the universal frustrations of the Dilbert set who unknowingly resign themselves to being lost in the mix. Playing out as a more subtle hybrid of American Psycho and Falling Down, Romero keeps Flyming's well-to-do peon sympathetic until the film's overblown and unconvincing climax. Only in its final moments does Brusier stumble into convention as the avenging antihero plots to give his boss the ultimate payback, with the implausible "master plan" seeming desperate compared to the rest of the film's more realist approach. Slow moving but satisfyingly involving throughout the majority of its running time, Romero weaves a thoughtful yarn of lost identity and everyday frustrations with Bruiser, one only wishes that he might have more carefully considered where his story was heading.