The TIFF premiere of Bruiser was one of intense emotion and cinematic precision as director Miles Warren made his debut.
One of the highlights of this year’s iteration of TIFF was the premiere of Miles Warren directorial debut Bruiser. Starring Jalyn Hall, Shamier Anderson, and Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes, Bruiser was one of the best surprises of the year.
Jalyn Hall plays Darius, a young fourteen year old boy raised by a stern father named Malcom (Shamier Anderson) and his wife Monica (Shinelle Azoroh). One day, a conflict arises at school, resulting in him getting beaten up. Humiliated, Darius goes and seeks refuge in a forest nearby where he encounters Porter (Trevante Rhodes). Porter is a physically strong man with an even stronger personality. The pair quickly develop a genuine bond, with Porter teaching Darius how to defend himself. Unfortunately, there is a secret hidden within their dynamic. Porter is Darius’ biological father. And while he might be trying to make up for lost time and be part of Darius’ life, his past mistakes might make him irredeemable.
Despite the memes and the comedic commentary around the subject, the topic of fatherhood is a sensitive subject within Black communities. And while the stereotype of the absent father might have been addressed in several african american motion pictures, it has never been explored to this extent. We are aware of the emotional impact that an absent father can cause in a child’s life, but what about the impact on their mental health? And their ability to understand themselves. Last but not least, what kind of impact would it have on a step father who dedicated his whole life to this child? At its core, bruiser explores the correlation between ego and toxic masculinity as well as its impact on a young boy.
This movie is a tour de force for first time director Miles Warren. The characters are brought to life thanks to the impeccable performances from Shamier Anderson and Trevante Rhodes. Jalyn Hall also does an amazing job carrying the weight of Bruiser’s narrative and channeling the audience’s experience through his eyes. These combining factors, carefully helmed in this directorial debut, allow us to confirm that Bruiser was the hidden gem of TIFF 2022.
Learn more about Bruiser here.