Looking back: Bronson (2008)

I’m trying out a new feature here, whereby I watch an old film I may or may not have seen already and then give it a review afterwards. Typically these will be films that aren’t on general release at the cinema, as those will just appear in the normal reviews section.

As I say, the Looking Back feature will be  a chance to view and review older films and may hopefully give my readers the opportunity to have their say on a chosen film in the comments, I might even be able to unlock a hidden gem for people to watch or maybe someone has a recommendation for me.

Let’s begin.


Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Starring: Tom Hardy, Kelly Adams & Luing Andrews

Synopsis: A young man who was sentenced to 7 years in prison for robbing a post office ends up spending 30 years in solitary confinement. During this time, his own personality is supplanted by his alter ego, Charles Bronson.

Bronson is a film I hadn’t seen until the other night, it had been on my radar for a while but I’d never got round to seeing it. Was it worth the wait? Yes.

The film centre’s entirely around Tom Hardy’s main character. Telling the story of how an attempted post office robbery turned Michael Peterson into Britain’s most notorious criminal, Charles Bronson.

Hardy completely immerses himself in the role. Having put on roughly 3 stone during five weeks and having met Charles Bronson in prison on several occasions. Apparently Bronson and Hardy became good friends during his visits, with Bronson being heavily impressed by how well Hardy could mimic his voice and personality.

At times, both the film and character are charismatic and extremely violent. The violence of the character is no real surprise, he’s famous for a reason right? The surprise for me however, was how charming and down right interesting he could be. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not someone I would personally like to meet but he’s the cinematic equivalent of a car crash, in that you can’t help but look.

Of course credit has to go to the director too, Nicolas Windig Refn. Refn is an uncompromising director, never holding back on the violence, but at the same time he never lets it become gratuitous. He also has an eye for casting, especially in the lead role. He cast Ryan Gosling in Drive, another brilliant film.

For me though, some of the most entertaining scenes are where Hardy is on stage addressing his audience and telling his story.  Sometimes Hardy plays two roles whilst on the stage, and he does it seamlessly. Again, the charisma of the character and the ability of the actor completely drawing you in.

If you haven’t seen Bronson yet I would highly recommend you do. To paraphrase Bronson himself, it’s madness at it’s very best.



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