Bronson – A review

I’ve been using Lovefilm for a while now and have had a fairly diverse range of movies to watch, some not to my taste, but there have been movies that have been pleasant surprises.

Bronson, starring Tom Hardy as the infamous “Britain’s most violent prisoner” Charles Bronson, was a film that I thought would rival the likes of Aussie crime flick Chopper. A gritty depiction of a real life criminal, livened up with bit of liberal interpretation of events. Sadly this was not the case and this was a film that was a let down.

Whilst Hardy gives a charismatic and energetic performance, it is chaotic and you get a feeling that there is a lot of stylish flourishes in the film making up for a fairly rudimentary plot. However these flourishes lean towards a feeling of fantasy and this mix of fantasy and biography make the film seem predominantly one of wish fulfillment.

Bronson is violent and probably the film’s main (and arguably only, aside from Hardy’s performance) strength is conveying how unpredictable, fearsome and explosive he was. But there have been similar performances of menace (Pesci in Goodfellas, Kingsley in Sexy Beast) in much more entertaining and engrossing movies. This menace just isn’t enough to make for the lightweight nature and dull plot of the film.

The plot suffers primarily because Bronson was an incredibly mediocre (and unsuccessful) criminal and decided that to be somebody he would be the most violent prisoner there was. This played to his main attributes, in that he was tough, very violent, and liked fights. He picks fights with everyone. Oh and he frequently does this nude. If you want to know what Tom Hardy looks like naked then this is a good film to watch.

There is a slightly interesting element of the film when he is sent to a mental institution which counters Bronson’s efforts of finding fame because he is no longer classed as a criminal and his violence is numbed by drugs.

But the rest of film feels like week padding that links together a series of violent clashes between Bronson and prison guards, other prisoners or anyone else that is a convenient target.

It is hard to warm to Bronson both as a person and a film. There isn’t much attempt to explain why he is the way he is and to try and make you understand him, root for him or really even care about what happens to him.

Whether the subject matter could have been handled any better by a different scriptwriter or director is hard to guage, but there are plenty of other crime biography films that are significantly better than this.

I was left wondering if this film would have been more enjoyable if it had been a biopic of Mr Bronson from Grange Hill.

Posted by: Matt

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Published in: on 18/11/2010 at 12:41 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I’m surprised, it got pretty good reviews and, assuming you are Matt, I thought it would be right up your street. I’ve not seen it myself though.


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