This f**king film was a f**king really f**king good f**king film.
What’s that? Reuben reviewed The Peanuts Movie? Oh, how darling. Well, while Reuben was reliving his childhood like a mug he is, I’ve been gettin’ down wit’ the big boys.
Bronson is the biographical tale of Michael Peterson and his alter-ego Charles Bronson, no, not that Charles Bronson. After deciding he wanted to become a celebrity, he attempts to rob a post office. When he is caught and sentenced to seven years in prison, Bronson ends up spending 34 years in the slammer, 30 of which are spent in solitary confinement. This is because of the wildly violent nature of the pro/antagonist, which leads to some memorable moments, that’s fer sure.
The story seems so preposterous that the film needs to remind you at the start and end that it is, in fact, based on true events, which makes the goings-on even more entertaining when you realize that it all actually happened and that this mentalist is still alive today. A lot of this shock and enjoyment comes from the spectacularly written screenplay from writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn, who uses no shortage of profanity to convey how coco-puffs Bronson is. Without a doubt, I can say that this is one of the most notably entertaining screenplays, particularly adapted screenplays, of the past decade or two, if one not to watch with grandad.
Refn is no slouch behind the camera, either. The cinematography being shown in this flick is really unique and lends itself heavily to the film’s gritty yet stylish tone. The camera travels almost serenely through scenes of violence and overall madness, with influences from films like Oldboy being apparent. However, the slower paced scenes are extremely focused and personal, especially during Bronson’s retrospective scenes. The film plays with brutal violence and other downright strange occurances, like a guy excreting in his hand then smearing it on his face, to break up a very intense narrative. It balances entertainment and pure shock really well.
The biggest standout in the film is, obviously, the lead’s performance. In what I can only describe as one of the best performances in recent times, Tom Hardy plays the titular Bronson, a mental, violent, charming felon with a knack for fighting people. Words can’t describe the charisma Hardy brings to this film, but I’m gonna try to anyway. His extremely vulgar, profanity laden lines are delivered with such insanity and anger that the audience are anticipating something brilliant whenever Hardy opens his mouth, and he usually delivers. Before watching this, I already liked Tom Hardy. However, after watching this, I can’t argue that he is one of the most talented actors of his generation.
However, with such a spectacularly bombastic lead performance, it’s inevitable that the supporting cast is gonna fade a bit, and that is exactly what this film suffers from. While I can’t remember any notable problems in the other performances, I also couldn’t tell you the name or actor or face of anyone else, and I watched the film 19 hours ago. Especially considering the striking appearance of the main character (I mean, would you look at that ‘stache?), it would’ve taken a hell of a support to stand out from the crowd. This can also be the fault of the lack of big names in the cast, not that I’m against little-known actors, but I can remember someone like, I dunno, Rosamund Pike, for example, but Kelly Adams? Who?
Another issue I had was with the film’s soundtrack. While I have relatively broad music tastes, compared to a pleb (don’t say Reuben don’t say Reuben don’t say Reuben) like Reuben (dammit), hearing the same electronic song loop over and over again does get on my tits. While the classical music was fine and, at points, adding to the film’s atmosphere in a great way, hearing the same electronic song at different points is really annoying and, in my opinion, a bit lazy. Instead of finding a different song to fit the mood of the scene, they just use the same one as the scene ten minutes ago had. Now, if it’s something like Ghostbusters (God bless Ray Parker Jr.) then it’s fine, but it’s not everyday you hear a theme like Ghostbusters. I had a similar problem with Platoon and it’s well-known score. Because the film had played that piece of music in five different scenes before it, when the spoilers (you know what I mean) happened, I didn’t care, I just wanted them to change the song.
That was a bit ranty, sorry ’bout that.
Overall, Bronson was a spectacular film. Really, really good. Much of this marvellousness came from Tom Hardy’s absolutely scene-stealing performance, but the direction and writing were also partly to thank. However, an unmemorable supporting cast and unvaried soundtrack scuppered this biopic’s brilliance, if only slightly. And I could’ve lived a happy life without seeing Bronson’s johnson, thank you very much.
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations