Editor’s Note: This is a re-post from out old site Film Is Pwn covering the 2009 Charlotte Film Festival, as we look forward to the 2010 CFF later this month:
Bronson. It’s an independent movie skillfully and artfully made. Tom Hardy, looking like a true Haberdasher, plays the titular Bronson — based on the real life story of Britain’s most notorious and expensive — and is brilliant. If someone were to talk Best Actor for Mr. Hardy, I couldn’t disagree; it’s a brave, bold, menacing performance.
The director makes some stylistic choices with Bronson, in his mind, putting on a campy stage show to an enraptured audience where he gets to explain his sick, perverse outlook on life. There are other more serious moments where Bronson speaks to the camera directly as if in a confessional, where the nutjob is about as lucid about his madness as possible. I thought they worked and were interesting.
And I utterly detested the movie. I can’t fathom why a talented group of men and women would willingly conspire to write, produce, cast, direct, and perform the material. I derived no entertainment value from the experience and I would strongly encourage any caring human being to keep clear of theaters screening Bronson with a 30 mile radius, just to make sure they don’t accidentally wander into one of the showings by mistake. If there is a scientist who intends to show Bronson to criminally, clinically insane lab rats to gauge their reaction, I would gladly stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those loons from PETA to protest cruelty to animals.
The character of Bronson, born Mickey Peterson, is a raging sociopath. There is no real origin to his condition, though there is about ten seconds of implication that his mother looked the other way at his violent behavior as a child. As a young man Bronson has a mousy wife and child before turning to a life of crime for no particular reason, and we never see or hear from or about said wife and child throughout the picture. Even if Bronson didn’t care about the wife and child of the sadist after his first jaunt in prison, wouldn’t the filmmakers at least want to explore that? Have the wife visit him in prison and be ignored, or show in some capacity that Bronson never cared that he had a kid out there? He’s a monster, yes, but that might at least add some tragedy to this soulless beast.
Prison doesn’t make Bronson into a monster, though it does give him a home, a place to fight for no particular rhyme or reason. Bronson goes to the insane asylum, where he’s miserable because he’s doped up and can’t fight or be caged like he likes. So he mischievously overcomes the drugs long enough to nearly strangle a fellow prisoner (played for laughs, much to my distaste). After all this, Bronson is somehow declared sane and is released, it’s implied because he’s been the most expensive prisoner ever interned in Britain’s prison system.
From there Bronson goes into underground fight clubs via a transvestite ex-prison associate (don’t ask, I don’t know the answer), fighting (and urinating) on hobos and fighting dogs. There’s a girl (prostitute? Floozy? I’m not sure and I’m not going to try and look it up) who he sleeps with but she is getting married to another guy. Bronson steals her an engagement ring, is rejected by her, then arrested for the theft and is thrown back into prison, where his fightin’ ways renew with extra sadism. Bronson takes hostages of prison guards and art teachers, bullies and threatens them, strips naked (and I mean full frontal nudity naked), greases up (*shudder*), then fights the guards who rush in to subdue him. That’s the movie.
The question I keep coming back to is: “WHY??”
WHY is a remorseless, malicious psychopath like Bronson an interesting subject for a film? Why is there not a single sympathetic, decent character tossed into the mix, if not just to contrast with Bronson’s debauchery and sadism? Why make this movie? Why would anyone stand in front of the Charlotte Film Festival and profess pride in finding and bringing Bronson to the audience? Why would you want other caring, feeling human beings to endure this crap?
One biggie is: Why didn’t I leave after the first twenty minutes? Oh, yeah, that one there is an answer to: Because Tom Stephens was my ride and he was enjoying the movie. Next time we go to the Film Festival, Tom, I drive.
–Daniel J. Roos didn’t like this movie, if you failed to pick up on that. The festival has been fun and pleasant. This movie not so much.
Looking for something?
Use the form below to search the site:
Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!
Visit our friends!
A few highly recommended friends...