You know those films that you see and the minute they’re over you want to jump in the car and drive out to whatever remaining actual brick and mortar store you might be lucky enough to have in your hood and buy the damned thing?
That’s Bronson to a ‘T’ (although I finally had to order the film after striking out at every conceivable location near me).
First: There’s been a lot of buzz about Tom Hardy for a while now and yeah, I could kinda see it before, but after seeing Bronson HOLY COW man, it is on!!! This is A-level character immersion and an absolute pleasure to watch. Hardy’s Bronson literally becomes other people as we watch, undergoes and shares insights into his own mad-dog behavior and conceives of a ‘life-plan’. A fascinating character study that is an absolute riot to watch.
Bronson is a very unique film and we have writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn to thank for it (along with Brock Norman Brock on the screenwriting end). It is terribly violent at times but that violence is almost always funny; funny in that way that violent stories can be when they are done with a little bit of an outside perspective and a lot of character padding. Refn and Hardy don’t make Michael Peterson, aka Charlie Bronson, aka Britain’s most violent prisoner a likable guy, nor do they make him a sympathetic character. What they do is make him a straight-up Shakespearean character, complete with his masks for the comedic and the tragic which he quite literally wears on his face as makeup (kinda) at one point as he narrates his life story to what he sees as his deserved audience – nothing short of a grand assembly in a magnificent theatre. This of course begs the question of whether or not in this age of instant internet sensations and talentless, PR savy heiresses a controversial figure such as Britain’s most violent criminal is worthy, or morally deserving of being made a star. Because yeah, guilty feelings about it or not, Bronson is an explosive character and someone you want to watch, like Pacino’s Scarface, Nicholson’s Jack Torrance or Dennis Hopper’s Frank Booth. Crazy, violent, verbose (in his own way) and gripping, Tom Hardy’s Bronson put another invaluable character on my radar and I intend to study it, both for professional and entertaining reasons.