Life According to Bronson
Born Michael Peterson and raised in Luton, Bedfordshire notorious prisoner Charles Bronson (Tom Hardy) had his first brush with the law at quite a young age and not long after entered prisoner for the first time. In total he has spent 34 years in various prisons with many of those spent in solitary confinement due to his violent nature attacking other prisoners, civilian workers and guards.
"Roll up, roll up, come on in and enjoy the show as Britain's most violent and notorious prisoner tells you all about his life, loves and Luton". That is what is missing from the start of "Bronson" as what director Nicolas Winding Refn has delivered is the equivelant of turning Charles Bronson in to a showman who in that exhibitionistic style of a showman on the stage takes us through his life. And yes that makes "Bronson" a strange and captivating movie which is as amusing as is it is horrifying with scenes of violence. Tet the scenes of Bronson attacking people more show the madness of his life than showing that he was a violent thug.
It is an unusual approach to what is for all sense and purpose a biopic and it makes what could have been an unappealing movie which glorified the life of a notorious prisoner into something more of an artistic interpretation. Now it has to be said that to pull this off it takes something special from an actor and out of seemingly nowhere Tom Hardy delivers something which I don't think any other actor could have pulled off. From the physicality of Bronson to the voice and then the aspect of being a showman for this movie it is one of the most multi faceted characters and just magnificent.
The thing is that what this means for "Bronson" is that it is less of a biopic and closer to art, from the look which Refn delivers to the performance of Hardy and it is so full on that some people won't like it due to the subject matter and how it can come across, almost too entertaining and comical in places. The thing which I found was that it made me want to know more about the real Bronson, what made him so violent and unable to control himself. Is it madness of is it something else which makes him act like he does?
What this all boils down to is that "Bronson" is one of the most original biopics I have ever watched and one which I am glad I have because of its originality. But also because what is one of the most entertaining performances I have watched in a long time with Tom Hardy delivering a performance which was strangely snubbed by the Oscar committee and it is beyond me why.