Bronson (2008)

Regardless of the fact they drink too much tea and we made them weep during the Revolutionary War, England has some really cool qualities to it, especially when it comes to films. They have their own style down there, and occasionally films such as Fish Tank or anything Guy Ritchie directs will come to the States and remind us of this. Bronson, the 2008 film starring Tom Hardy (Handsome Bob from RocknRolla), is another one of these English imports and although it got a small release in October of 2009, it wasn’t widely seen by the public…that is, till now (because I’m the public)!

Bronson is based on the life and times of Britain’s most dangerous prisoner Michael Peterson, also known as Charles Bronson (and yes, he named himself after the man of many Death Wish sequels). Born to a normal middle class upbringing, Bronson exhibits violent tendencies at an early age and is sentenced to seven years in prison after robbing a post office. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and regret, he embraces the situation and develops a love of prison life, referring to his cell as a “hotel room”. His constant violent altercations with other inmates and prison guards extends his prison stay for longer than intended and spends an excess of 30+ years in jail, with most of those years spent in the hell of solitary confinement (he briefly spends some time back in the outside world, where he falls in love and becomes an underground fighter). Instead of just being a straight up biopic, Bronson takes it in a different direction. Bronson the character is narrating his story to a crowd of people, throwing in all manners of theatrics (re-enactments, face paint, etc.) who hang on his every word, as if it is nothing but a stage show. This lends it to a more creative story, mixing fact and fiction and sensationalizing the story to be more cinematic.

Make no bones about it: Bronson is an excellent movie and it is all thanks to the work of Tom Hardy, who plays Bronson as a complete psychopath who craves fame and fortune, and is completely insane and flat out scary. There are a few moments when he is narrating to the audience and he will bust out laughing then all of a sudden stop and give the camera an icy stare that will give you shivers down your spine every time he does it. Hardy’s physical movements through out the film help flesh out the character, from his strut to his robotic-like approach to everyday life, from smiling to shaking hands. Hardy acts his ass off here, and he should have been nominated for something (he may have been nominated for a BAFTA, but like many people, I don’t pay attention to those) for how well he commands the screen. I could not imagine anyone playing Bronson other than Tom Hardy. This is a star making role for him.

Bronson is a good looking movie as well. The shots the director chooses are magnificent and it’s got a very gritty feel to it. The soundtrack, filled with opera, classical, and a badass 80’s sounding theme song, are the perfect counterbalance to the chaos that is projected on screen.

Bronson is an engaging movie and will keep you glued to the TV based on Hardy’s performance alone. It’s violent, profane, and features a lot of male nudity, so if uncircumcised men are your bag, you’ll definitely enjoy this. At the same time, it may be too unsettling and freaky for some casual moviegoers. A lot of comparisons have been made to the classic film A Clockwork Orange, so if you liked that, odds are you’ll like this. There are some minor flaws, mainly having to do with the third act which drags the movie down a bit and ends it on a whimper rather than a bang, but it’s definitely worth the watch for any movie fan.

Final Verdict:


Watch Bronson on Netflix Watch Instantly!


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