| Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Czchecoslovakian Poster
Greek Poster

UK Poster
2008R92 minutes
Tom Hardy, Matt King, James Lance, Kelly Adams, Amanda Burton, Katy Barker, Edward Bennett-Coles, Helen Grayson, William Darke, Brendan McCoy, Jonathan Phillips, Hugh Ross, Joe Tucker
Nicolas Winding Refn
Drama, Crime Dramas, Biographies, Dramas Based on Real Life, United Kingdom
This movie is:
Violent, Cerebral
Nicolas Winding Refn's vivid and unflinching biopic delves into the life of Britain's most notorious prisoner, Charlie Bronson (Tom Hardy) -- who's been jailed for nearly 35 years -- and attempts to dissect the real man behind the deranged persona. While Bronson's primary ambition was to be famous, he became a celebrity of sorts as a criminal who seized myriad opportunities to demonstrate extreme and terrorizing savagery.

Wonderful color tone throughout the movie.
No man likes to sew.
Charlie Bronson (born Michael Petersen) has the distinction of being Britain's Most Notorious Criminal. Despite never having killed anyone, and mostly being a petty thief, at the age of 56 he has spent 34 years in prison, 30 in solitary confinement. He has also won awards for his art and poetry. He has one ambition: “All my life I've wanted to be famous.” And so he is. The film is extremely exaggerated and stylized, and fairly violent (but not gory and again, Bronson never killed anyone, and he isn't really Chopper either—his is more frequently the violent rage of a charging bull than a calculating psychopath), somewhat in the tradition of Clockwork Orange, but much less cruel, much funnier, and to me, much more entertaining. Bronson isn't seeking pity, or even understanding. On some very basic level, prison seems to suit him just fine—but he appears to maintain some sort of sense of dignity and even freedom through a rabid refusal to conform. There are shades of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in the darkly hilarious scenes in the psychiatric prison, a place which did not suit our protagonist in the least. Tom Hardy's performance is utterly mesmerizing. And the combination of visuals and music, and even dark humor, is reminiscent of the best of Terry Gilliam—and throw in some Vaudeville and Grand Opera—in other words, shameless excess! I found this movie endlessly entertaining, but I don't mind violence, and extravagant stylization is a good thing in my book—especially when it's done as gorgeously as it is here. More of a stylized psychological portrait than a true “biopic”.

The many faces of Charlie Bronson.
This is near masterpiece for reasons not only associated with the main actor, Tom Hardy's performance, but because of it's on and off linear, narrative story telling. From the get go we are immersed into a biopic told directly through the words of the Bronson character himself, in a black abyss of a room with only light shining onto his bald head, distinctly twisted mustache and prison coveralls that stick to his broad shoulders. He's not charming,he's not smart, or resourceful, but he's intimidating. Really intimidating. The look of self certainty in his eyes and his raspy, yet brooding voice with his thick British accent, begins to elaborate his life's tale in visual gushes of realistically choreographed fist fighting, face stomping, face biting, mouth frothing, veins popping, plethora of testosterone and ego maniacal... well sanity.

Whether most of this biopic is true or merely elaborated for cinematic purposes, the point is finely met and it never gets boring, well as it is really well made and done so with a high entertainment value by somehow, attaining substance and sincerity. Bronson is a unique film treat—yeah, not for everybody—but for you artsy intensity junkies, this is it!


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