Friday, December 23, 2011
I can't pretend to say I was familiar with this movie at all before I saw it. I knew nothing about it. I hadn't even heard much anything about it. Until, on the online forum I frequent, a friend of mine posted his review of it. Its a fantastic review, convinced me Bronson was a definate must see before I even finished reading it. You should check it out as well, cause I don't even think I could put it into better words. Read it here.
The easist thing to catagorize Bronson as is a 'biopic'. It tells the story of a very real person, in very real times, doing very real things. But the way this film is crafted, it'd be a crime to catagorize it as anything but 'art'. Its a masterpiece of a movie, that is also simply a stage for Tom Hardy's mind blowing performance.
From role to role, Hardy is never the same. He becomes the character on the page, and brings him to life in an amazing way. You hand him a character like Charlie Bronson though... (no direct connection to the actor)
and he'll blow you away.
Right out of the gate, you know, that you're seeing something special. And its captivating. The movie is about Britain's most infamously violent prisoner, Michael Peterson. He's eventually dubbed Charlie Bronson as a fighting moniker from a boxing promoter, it pretty soon becomes very apparent that "Bronson" fits him much better. He's shown from a young age, being a very violent person already. But his first incarceration is for the attepmted robbing of a post office. Only given a seven year sentence, but it ended up turning into a fourteen year stretch because of his incessantly violent nature. He caused so much chaos and unleashed so much violence on the inside, he was constantly shuffled back and forth between various prisons. We're there every major step of the way and its an undeniably fascinating look at this man and turns his story into a captivating journey. By this point he's costing the government so much money in damages and medical expenses, that they certify him sane and set him free. He'd become far too costly to stay in prisons. As you may have guessed, its only a couple months before he's back inside. I won't say too much more about what happens, but its impossible to take your eyes off it.
We see Bronson in a unique light in this movie. We're able to explore aspects of his personality and internal drive that would be nigh impossible to derive from a typical documentary or a web article. If I ever had to learn about someone, more than I ever needed to know, I would hope they have a biopic as classy, entertaining and artful as this.
Its completely Bronson's show here. He's the main character in a very closed off, spotlighted way. This is kind of tough to pull off well, not letting us really connect to any supporting characters. And its hard enough as is hardly having any supporting characters worth connecting to. It also doesn't help that Bronson isn't a relatable character. Its often like watching a wild animal pace back and forth in his tiny cage. Full of pent up power, itching to be unleashed, looking constantly for an out. Prison is like his Motel 6. After a while, it feels more natural for him to be inside, fighting it out over every little thing. He becomes a celebrity, reknowned for his violence. All of this is made real by Hardy's impeccable and nuanced performance. Every movement is calculated, every emotion brought vibrantly to life, and every line delivered with extreme precision and care. He has gravitas and incredible physical presence. Its amazing to watch. Even more amazing if you're used to him in movies like Rock N Rolla, Inception, Layer Cake, and such. You have grounds to compare. Hardy's physical transformation is astounding.
Bronson's whole journey, character arc, whatever you want to call it... is simply captivating. I've probably used that word too often in this review, but it basically sums up the entire movie for me. Bronson is utterly unmissable, incredibly well made, a thrilling work of art thats relentlessly entertaining, and mercilessly captivating.