Bruce, a short animation by Tom Judd, premiered several years ago, but its voice is still echoing around the internet; three years later, and I’m only just hearing it.
As Bruce explores the short life of a synthesized action hero, Judd’s film toes the line between delightful and disturbing. Wrapped into the three minutes of captivating animation are some pretty weighty themes - the ethics of playing god, the dehumanization allowed for by technology, youth apathy and desensitization in a pop culture bubble of violence - yet Bruce seems anything but a finger wagging lesson in morality.
Instead, Judd delivers his twisted plotline punch with no frills, making the endearing action man’s demise all the more disturbing. As the heroic storyline we anticipate suddenly nosedives (and hits one awful plastic bag on the way down), Judd offers no outside narrative or saccharine morality to cushion the blow. Bruce just is, and that’s exactly what makes it so deliciously uncomfortable.