Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jason Flemyng, Peter Stormare, Leslie Hope, Nina Garbiras, Andrew Tarbet, Tom Atkins, Jonathan Higgins, Jeff Monahan, Marie Cruz, Beatriz Pizano, Tamsin Kelsey, Kelly King, Susanne Sutchy, Balázs Koós, Jean Daigle, Chantal Quesnel, Kiran Friesen
Written by: George A. Romero
Directed by: George A. Romero
MPAA Rating: R for sexuality, violence, language and some drug use
Running Time: 99
Date: 13/02/2000

Bruiser (2000)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Raving Face

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

George A. Romero wrote and directed this barely-released thriller after a long, dry spell, and critics had a field day in proclaiming the end of his career. But it's fascinating in an overwrought kind of way, and even though it was not filmed in Pittsburgh, it's still filled with all of Romero's usual touches (if he were around in the 1950s, he might have made melodramas).

Jason Flemyng stars as nice guy Henry Creedlow. He works at "Bruiser" magazine for a tyrannical, obnoxious boss (Peter Stormare). His sexy wife (Nina Garbiras) is sleeping with said boss, and his best friend (Andrew Tarbet), an accountant, is stealing from him. One day, he wakes up and finds that a white, featureless mask has adhered itself to his face, and this "frees" him. He's able to exact his revenge, even if it comes to murder. The tale climaxes at a costume party, of course (with the Misfits on stage!).

Romero wrings very intense emotional energy, mainly thanks to Stormare's overcooked, hate-filled performance; you can feel the anger and frustration oozing from the screen. Romero also gets great effects from shadows, fogged-up mirrors and unfinished spaces. If the movie has a drawback, it's that it's not particularly scary, and in fact, can be rather exhausting. Tom Atkins plays a police detective who tries to make sense of it all.

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