Daniel (Diarmaid Murtagh) is a homeless man who has lost all sense of trust and security whilst living on the streets. His only companion is his dog, Bruno and he’s the only one who ever get close to him. Then one day Bruno runs off and while Daniel is searching for him, he comes across a little boy called Izzy (Woody Norman) who seems to be just as lost as Bruno.
Daniel does the right thing and wants to find Izzy’s parents so that he can go home. However, Izzy doesn’t want to go home and so Daniel reluctantly takes Izzy with him on the search for his canine best friend.
Bruno is a realistic drama written and directed by Karl Golden. Depicted as the feel-good film of the year with the bond between a homeless man, a little boy and his dog it seems at first the Bruno may be the heart-warming drama that people may be wanting. However, besides the connections between Daniel and Izzy and how Daniel becomes a sort of father figure and protector of Izzy, the film never really strays too far into pulling at the heartstrings.
Murtagh plays Daniel as a man lost by society who feels he’s better off that way and so the audience may be expecting a cosy and rather predictable character arc as Daniel learns some life lessons. Although it seems that director Golden has different ideas because whereas there are elements of this throughout, it never feels like he’s setting out to manipulate the audience.
Instead, there are moments of warmth and there are moments of realism that talk about Daniel’s experiences being homeless and they seem to come from a real place rather than an attempt at poverty porn.
The many ways in which Daniel’s character is portrayed and slowly drawn out to give a fully realised human being is well done also. With Murtagh not only playing an impressive lead role, but also giving a multi-faceted performance.
Those expecting a saccharine story of learning to love again and finding your way in the world may be delighted or disappointed in equal measures by Bruno. However, the story is thought provoking and not disposable like so many films that may want to make you cry.
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