Saturday, 14 March 2009

#25 Review And Q&A Of ‘Bronson’ (2009)

* * * * *

Nicolas Winding Refn

Tom Hardy
Matt King
James Lance
Nicolas Winding Refn (co-written by) and
Brock Norman Brock (writer)
Running Time

So last night at the Duke Of York’s Picturehouse (Brighton), Vertigo had arranged a very very special screening of Bronson (2009) with a directors Q&A after (two of the actors Matt King and James Lance where also there). I managed to get in even though it was full, now I was very surprised about seeing the screen packed out (with the exception of a couple seats). And I am really glad I didn’t miss an opportunity like this.

So what’s it all about? It’s a film, not a biopic (a Winding Refn noted), about Britain’s most infamous prisoner Michael Gordon Peterson or known around the world as Charles Bronson and his life in the slammer. Bronson has been in prison for 34 years for armed robbery at a post office for £26.18. He was then given seven years but after a string of hostage situation and fights he has been moved around the country from prisons to asylums. This film shows Bronson in his fighting prime and on his softer side as he is in and out of prison.

Tom Hardy (Black Hawk Down) is truly extraordinary as Bronson giving out long monologs and dishing out punches (which are real) whilst naked. Yes completely naked, all greased up fighting police. That might be a strange comment however I was impressed that Hardy was fine with doing so many bazaar naked fight scenes and the nakedness adds to his power over the timid police. Then there was Matt King (Peep Show) who was pretty much the only supporting character because all the others had small parts the faded out during the course of the film. However even the minor characters where interesting, the majority of them did there parts with out stealing the lime light.

The film has already sparked a lot of controversy with reviews because some people like my self are saying it is a master piece for British films whilst others say it is glorifying fighting and prisons. Now that’s stupid. Whilst watching the film I never once thought that the fighting was cool, it was beautifully done, but I didn’t want to go fighting because after it showed its repercussions of it. Usually ending with him in a bloody mess and with a straight jacket tightly strapped on in a pool of his own blood. Then comes that talk about prison life, the film actually put me off prison life a lot (not that I was thinking of joining one) but the way he would pace around the cell like an animal showed the less glamorised side of it. If anything it’s films such as The Longest Yard and Shawshank Redemption that did that. The people who don’t like a great piece of work like Bronson are what I call “attention whores”. Like when people didn’t like other classic films such as ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ they just do it so people talk about them more. Well they obviously don’t have a passion for films.

I think that Bronson is a definite modern Kubrick. I believe that even the director said himself during the Q&A that the Director of Photography Larry Smith worked on Kubrick’s last hit Eyes Wide Shut. But to me the film had a lot of things from his other film. The location’s reminded me of The Shining and the character’s and costume resembled A Clockwork Orange. During the Q&A got a chance to asked the director and actors…

“Are you proud to have your film compared to such a cult classic and are you proud to be in the film?”

To which Matt King replied…

“I haven’t seen A Clockwork Orange but yes”

(whilst he said that everyone in the audience let out a little sigh in disbelief)

When first releasing this blog (blog sounding like a creature that sits at the bottom of the sea and communicates with farts) last Saturday, I only gave 'Bronson' * * * * however after watching the trailer a couple of times I decided it is one of the best films of the year. Period. This is the first and maybe the only times I re-edited and added more stars. Seeing how it is getting bad reviews I am going to say that it is a hidden gem.

Finally I recommend this to anyone who isn’t put of by other reviews. A film like is will be remembered for years to come, whether or not a couple of reviews say so. During the premier the real Charles Bronson had managed to send a video tape two days before his parole however now because of it his parole has been pushed back. If you have seen and like films such as Chopper and Fight Club you with love Bronson. Free Charles Bronson.

Oliver Hunt

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