A Weekly Educated Movie Recommendation by Shaun Smith
Bronson stars Tom Hardy (or as many people would know as the jacked villain Bane in the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises) as the title character Charles Bronson. This biographical, ultraviolent crime drama is directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, also known for the 2011 film Drive. Actually ultraviolent is too kind of a word to describe the film. It’s downright brutal.
This film follows Charles Bronson (real name Michael Peterson), a real life British criminal who spends a majority of his adult life moving from prison to prison. The narrative is given to us from Bronson himself through profile voiceovers and an odd, yet theatric, one man stage show.
The amazing thing about Bronson is even with all the graphic depictions of violence there are numerous subtle and dazzling moments throughout. Refn has become known for long take panning shots, normally set to ear-numbing 80’s techno music. Bronson is filled with long takes shot brilliantly including an impressive five-minute long panning scene throughout a mental ward all in one take.
The real high point of Bronson is the work of Tom Hardy who shows off his acting chops. One minute he will be calm and normal, and the next he will flip out crazy with the occasional theatrical elegance mixed in. Many people compare Bronson to a modern-day A Clockwork Orange, which really is an unfair comparison. Much like Orange, Bronson has a bizarre third act and ends on an anomalous note. I also like to compare Refn to Kubrick in many ways. Don’t get me wrong, there will never be another Stanley Kubrick but I feel Refn is slowly adapting a similar style to Kubrick, not that I’m complaining.
If you like hard-hitting cinema with brilliant acting and a diverse visual style, I highly suggest checking out Bronson.