I saw Bronson at Sundance and was utterly and totally blown away, both by the movie and by Tom Hardy’s astonishing lead performance. The film is about Charlie Bronson, Britain’s most violent prisoner, who has spent 34 years in prison, and 30 of those in solitary. Director Nicolas Winding Refn paints a portrait of the artist as an incorrigable thug – violence is Bronson’s mode of personal expression, no different from Mozart’s music or Picasso’s paintings. It’s a thrilling thesis and one that makes for a disturbing, beautiful and brutal film. Check out my Sundance review of the film here.

But at the center of it all is Hardy, who you may best recognize as… Picard’s clone in Star Trek: Nemesis! The complete transformation Hardy undertook for this role is vintage DeNiro, but I doubt he’ll be getting a nod from the Academy, despite being completely stunning as Charlie Bronson. It’s a shame, but I have no doubt he’ll be snubbed, and I have no doubt that this is the best performance by a man in 2009.

This comparison comes from Empire Online.

The film opens this week in New York; hopefully it gets a wider release before Magnet throws it to DVD. If you’re near a theater playing this film, you must go see it!