Opening 15 Oct 2020
Having lost everything, Daniel (Diarmaid Murtagh) lives in a makeshift “home” with his remaining friend, Bruno. He guards both scrupulously. A decent person, he also safeguards areas near them, in particular a local playground—later revealed as personally significant, and particularly against rowdies that use it for raucous nighttime carousing. Luck turns when, in short order, Daniel is evicted, and then, while intervening with an especially unruly group at the playground they violently turn on him. Daniel goes to hospital – his dog goes missing. Once discharged, after fruitless searching, Daniel returns to the playground and finds something—someone—far more intriguing, and distracting. A runaway. The boy attaches himself to Daniel like a shadow; young Izzy (Woody Norman) takes to the “Bruno quandary” and annoyingly insists on helping Daniel find him. As they traipse around London to Daniel’s past haunts a bond is forged. Equally, it forces Daniel to face the horrifically traumatic instant that life lost meaning.
Irish director-writer Karl Golden’s Bruno focuses on the homeless problem by plunking an Irishman living rough in London, based on his firsthand experiences with the homeless when living there. Working with a limited budget, Golden’s compelling script quietly, imaginatively looks at what might lead to homelessness, and he assembled a talented cast. Following Daniel, we learn how fate, illusions and circumstances affected Daniel’s decline. Murtagh’s revelatory facial/body language compensates for his character’s quietness, i.e., scant dialogue. Counterbalancing that is Norman—9-years-old when Bruno was shot, with a dazzling, perceptive performance. That juxtaposition accentuates the complexities of Daniel’s inner turmoil, and, the degree to which Izzy is a redemptive catalyst against it.
Jalaludin Trautmann’s impressive, mostly hand-held camerawork mirror’s London grittiness yet intimately illustrates the rapport that grows between the pair, flanked by Martin Brinkler’s editing and Anne Nikitin’s complimentary music. The film screened at Filmfest Hamburg 2019. Bruno sensitively posits that nothing is lost forever, while heartwarmingly depicting the adage, “don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.” (Marinell Haegelin)