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.
After a prison riot, former-Captain Nascimento, now a high ranking security officer in Rio de Janeiro, is swept into a bloody political dispute that involves government officials and paramilitary groups.
In 1974, a hot-headed 19 year old named Michael Peterson decided he wanted to make a name for himself and so, with a homemade sawn-off shotgun and a head full of dreams he attempted to rob a post office. Swiftly apprehended and originally sentenced to 7 years in jail, Peterson has subsequently been behind bars for 34 years, 30 of which have been spent in solitary confinement. During that time, Michael Petersen, the boy, faded away and 'Charles Bronson,' his superstar alter ego, took center stage. Inside the mind of Bronson - a scathing indictment of celebrity culture. Written by
The British Prison Officers' Association complained when the film's London premiere was prefaced with a recording by Charles Bronson himself, recorded at HMP Wakefield, where he stated: "I'm proud of this film, because if I drop dead tonight, then I live on. I make no bones about it, I really was... a horrible, violent, nasty man. I'm not proud of it, but I'm not ashamed of it either... See you at the Oscars." It is illegal in the UK to make unauthorized recordings of prison inmates. This recording appears on some DVD-editions. See more »
(at around 1 min) The security guard in the background is visible on some scenes but does not appear on others. On certain transitions he not there, then a few seconds later he reappears. See more »
In one of the most frightening and downright crazy lead turns of the year, Tom Hardy ignites the screen in the British independent film, Bronson. Based on the unbelievable true story and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, the at times bizarre film tells the story of Michael Peterson, played by Hardy, who robs a post office in 1974, to only get 26 pounds out of the deal, and is sentenced to four years in prison. A four year stay has turned into a thirty-four year prison term, thirty of which has been spent in solitary confinement.
The man, which the British press calls 'the most violent prisoner in Britain," is one of the most complex, and highly disturbing characters to be depicted on screen this year. He always wanted to famous, Hardy states with such charisma at the opening of the film, but he can't sing, he can't dance, so he creates an alter ego during his time as a boxer prior to his prison sentence. Though the film is loosely based on the real man and his story, it doesn't matter, Refn treats the film with such artistic integrity and takes chances that most directors hope to accomplish in their careers. The narrative, though over-whelming at times, is unyielding in the manner in which it's told. For the most part however, Tom Hardy's gritty and aggressive performance will go down as one of the best kept secrets of 2009.
In watching the picture, the co-stars are nearly invisible as Hardy takes control of the screen and your attention. He enables the viewer to devote their time and energy with fear of severe consequences in not doing so. Hardy is an incredible talent and not sure if you'll see a more devoted actor to a character on film this year.
Refn's choice of music that fills the scenes with torment, discomfort, and sheer violence is a brilliance shown in his armor. Bronson is pure entertainment, and though it doesn't provide any moral or social significance in the acts of our lives, it's an admiral effort by British cinema.
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