Last Friday night my friend Gariana Abeyta of The Popcorn Mafia got me into a sold out screening of the new movie BRONSON at the Cinefamily. I had a previous dinner engagement and missed the Q and A with the Director and the star at the earlier show, but I got to see the movie and I’m very grateful, because BRONSON was the shit!
BRONSON tells the story of a petty thief named Michael Peterson, who is sentenced to 7 years in prison for the armed robbery of a post office that netted him about 28 pounds and change. His quest to become the most famous criminal in Britain leads him to change his name to Charles Bronson (the epitome of macho maleness) and assume an alter ego that becomes the British penal system’s worst nightmare. Charles Bronson really hates authority and loves nothing more than mixing it up with prison guards, officials, inmates and just about anyone that gets near him. After numerous assaults he is moved from one prison to another and begins to pile up more and more sentences. He likes to draw and write poems, but his favorite thing to do is to take a hostage, strip naked, grease himself with something (butter, paint, his own blood) and take on about 8 prison guards at once as they rush him with billy clubs and ultimately beat the living tar out of him. He also causes about 4 million pounds in damage to one unfortunate institution during a prison riot and fire he starts. All in all, he ends up doing 34 years in prison and 30 of those are in solitary confinement.
This movie is edgy British cinema at its best. The energy, style, humor and brutality are in the tradition of THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, SEXY BEAST, and TRAINSPOTTING. The direction from Nicolas Refn is visceral, confident, brave and displays an amazing visual style that is quite impressive considering this film was made for less than one million pounds. The narrative structure is also very operatic, with the main character donning clown face and performing to an audience at times. Tom Hardy gives a virtuoso performance as Bronson. He’s a charming sociopath with a love for the limelight and a violent temper for anyone that pisses him off, and of course everyone does. It’s an incredible story and a powerhouse of a movie that stands out from just about anything I’ve seen this year. Find it and see it when it’s released next month because it’s fucking awesome!