“I’m proud of this film, because if I drop dead tonight, then I live on. I make no bones about it, I really was, a horrible, violent, nasty man. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not ashamed of it either. See you at the Oscars.” These are the words of ‘Charles Bronson’, the infamous British prisoner, on whose life this film is loosely based on. I feel indecisive about this film, because I’m emotionally torn by the sadness of this tale, but at the same furious at the possible injustice faced by Bronson. Plus, there is never an excuse for non-defensive violence.
I guess to review this film properly, we need to assume that it’s not based on someone’s actual life. We need to look at this film as a film. As a film it employs creative story-telling techniques and calls for a fantastic use of music, colour and framing. Tom Hardy delivers a truly fantastic performance. All in all, this film is brilliant. Nevertheless the story it tells was enough to bring me to tears, and having the knowledge that this is based on a true story can make it an uneasy movie watching experience.
Nicholas Winding Refn is quickly becoming a favourite director of mine. His film Drive was truly fantastic, arousing my curiosity into some of his other work. There is a clear pattern to his films, he choses very unique and interesting characters as leads. Very seldom do are we left with a clear understanding of who these people really are, and what motivates them, what drives them. They are ghosts that appear for the length of the film that disappear, but still haunt us long after they are shut down from our screens. Bronson is the most haunting so far.
Tom Hard’y performance is what makes it extra haunting. It was this role that catapulted Tom Hardy’s performance and made Hollywood take a second look. We will certainly be seeing more of him. He is currently blown up on the big screen as Max in Mad Max: Fury Road. There is so much commitment and energy to the Bronson character. He single handedly carries this film, and is basically unrecognisable, having put on nearly 20Kg (45Lb) for the role, completely shaven and wearing a hideous moustache. Interestingly enough the moustache comes from ‘Charles Bronson’ himself. He shaves his own and gave it to Hardy to wear, as a symbol of his approval. Hardy spoke and met with ‘Bronson’ to prepare for his depiction of him. ‘Bronson’ went on to say, later on, that the film was, “theatrical, creative and brilliant.”
There is a lot of graphic violence in this film. Hardy’s performance whilst at an asylum is amazing, but disturbing. This is no easy film to watch, but needs to be appreciated for its artistic approach. Never has a biographic tale been told so unusually. Any thoughts fellow FilmMunchers?
TRIVIA COOKIES: ‘Charles Bronson’ has never killed, but is currently serving life imprisonment.
Tom Hardy, reportedly did 2500 press-ups a day for five weeks, to bulk up for this role.
Tom Hardy won a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor, and in Sydney this film took Best Film at the Sydney Film Festival.