Movie #85 Bronson
(2009, UK, d. Nicolas Winding Refn)
Charles Bronson just wants to get famous. That’s the theme of the piece, but I think the film goes the wrong way to accomplish this. It tries to separate us from Bronson’s actions, through a jarring and inconsistent tone both he and his actions create. Throughout the film, we can see Bronson’s projections of himself as a celebrity – delivering his biography on a stage in a packed theater, telling the audience his story for everyone to know. However, I think what would have been more effective would have been for us to get close to the character. From the movie alone, we can see that there are a lot of parts to this “maniac” that are understandable. After finishing this movie, I immediately did some research on the real Charles Bronson, known as Britain’s most violent prisoner in history. There are a lot of parts of his life that the movie decided not to include and to be honest, had it included those and, consequently, brought a more comedic and wacky tone to the film, I think in a way it would be clearer that Bronson’s ultimate goal was being achieved. For even if the filmmakers wanted to make the point that Bronson’s dream of becoming a celebrity would never come true, the fact is they made a movie about him – and rather than approaching it as a stylistic documentary about an non-understandable figure, I think the whole point of Bronson’s life is theatrics, and there wasn’t enough of that. The movie was very hypocritical, in that sense. There were praise-worthy moments though: all the stage scenes and art montages as well as photo montages introducing us to Bronson’s life were very creative. Tom Hardy (Inception) goes through a complete transformation into the murderer, and if there were one redeeming factor of the film, it would be his stellar and jarring performance.