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
Kristin Scott Thomas,
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 seven 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
Intense and brutal drama - makes Scum seem like a Disney movie. Jake the Muss would be proud.
Saw this the other day at the Sydney Film Festival.
I didn't know much about Bronson before the film, other than what I read on Wikipedia and after walking out of the cinema, I can't say I know any more about the man other than his inability to conform and his reliance on violence and abuse to deal with most situations.
Unlike Korean movie Breathless which also screened at the festival and focused on violence but at least gave you an idea as to why the main character was so disturbed and messed up. Bronson doesn't give you any answers other than he was simply born that way, despite loving parents. His inability to deal with society starting as early as his school years.
What I did enjoy was Hardy's performance. Sure to be compared to Bana's Chopper (which I think was far better - but I am an Aussie and therefore biased) and also A Clockwork Orange. Hardy is impressive as the hulking and impulsive brute. He occasionally shows us Bronson's vulnerable side but mostly it's about the rage that drives him from one prison to another.
The prison system and Brit government are seemingly helpless to come up with solutions at dealing with Bronson's violence. The man himself also seems way beyond rehabilitation. That would be a big understatement.
I thought it was a shame that Bronson didn't get into boxing or some other type of physical sport like Rugby league when he was younger as it might have given him an outlet for his anger.
Anyways, it's ultimately pretty grim viewing but certainly packs a punch (no pun intended). I would have like to see Winding Refn offer us a little more insight into the man.
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