A young man who was sentenced to seven years in prison for robbing a post office ends up spending three decades in solitary confinement. During this time, his own personality is supplanted by his alter-ego, Charles Bronson.
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Nicolas Winding Refn
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Nicolas Winding Refn
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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
Nicolas Winding Refn was not allowed to meet Charles Bronson in person since he is not from Britain, but was allowed to have two phone calls with him. Tom Hardy met with Bronson several times and the two became good friends. Bronson was impressed with how Hardy managed to get just as muscular as he was and how well he could mimic his own personality and voice. Bronson has stated he believes Hardy was the only person who could play him. See more »
At (11:00) The tutor asks Charles "What's the matter, Charlie?" But in this stage of the story Charles Bronson still had his original name Michael Peterson. He had not yet changed his name to Charles Bronson. 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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