Bronson (3 of 4)

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Michael Peterson better known as Charles Bronson, England’s most famous prisoner, is serving an indefinite amount of prison time. Why? For fighting. Bronson challenged sanity and rationality as he continued his seemingly pointless expedition of violence and jail-house rage.

That’s basically all you need to know because as far as plot goes there really isn’t one. The story is already told in the premise. Bronson is a character movie. Tom Hardy plays the lead and does an excellent job of capturing the craziness of the character. His thoughtless staring and his sudden changes in mood and demeanor are disturbing and believable.

It seemed the more bizarre Bronson became the more interesting the next scene was. The confusing part was that Bronson never knew what he wanted. The film portrays him as a fame-seeker. It’s his only aspiration actually. And because of that, following the storyline becomes what I imagine a Marilyn Manson concert might be like–shocking, but not intellectually profound.

The acting is superb, but then again I’ve always said crazy is easy.

Oftentimes “based on a true story” films end up providing a new perspective of understanding about the world and why people might have acted a certain way at a certain time. But Bronson, doesn’t do that. I learned some things factually (maybe) but learned little if anything morally. A life of violence is bad and has serious consequences, but we all knew that already.

Technically the movie is strong, and this is where it earns points from me. The lighting of the film consistently sets and changes the mood, and color becomes a tool of the director Refn. (This is the first film of his I’ve seen, although I hear the Pusher series is good.) The images put on-screen are well-controlled and seem thought through thoroughly. Especially Bronson’s prison cells and a theatre stage he creates in his mind to brag his own infamy. Another surprise technically was the makeup. Violence always means blood and cuts and scraps and bruises. Oh, and then, naturally, inside the mind of any psychopath it is colorful and full of mimes. Right?

Don’t expect to have your soul rocked, but there are a few laughs and if you like to “watch them actors go Loony Toons” you found a winner. Be ready for gritty language, violence, lots of male nudity (Bronson liked to oil up and fight naked), and closeups like a 60’s western.

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