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Bronson (2008)

The Man. The Myth. The Celebrity.

Starring:

Amanda Burton

Andrew Forbes

Gordon Brown

Holly Lucas

James Lance

Jon House

Jonny Phillips

Juliet Oldfield

Katy Barker

Kelly Adams

Luing Andrews

Mark Devenport

Matt King

Paul Donnelly

Tom Hardy

Directed by:

Nicolas Winding Refn

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 92 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: United Kingdom

Michael Peterson, aka Charles Bronson, was sent to prison for just seven years for the robbery of a post office in 1974. Through a series attacks on prison guards and fellow inmates, inciting prison riots and take-overs, and just being a meanie, Bronson ended up behind bars for thirty-four years with thirty of them in solitary. Not surprisingly, he began to lose his mind a little and Michael the boy gave way his superstar alterego. The story of Charles Bronson – ‘Britain’s most dangerous prisoner’ – is one that needed a film.

The infuriating flaw in Bronson is the constant asides where Bronson interrupts the narrative to tells his story to an audience in an excrutiatingly theatrical manner and in a way I just couldn’t see the point of. Yes, these scenes are meant to be a “scathing indictment of celebrity culture” blahdy blah, but the fact remains that these scenes are like a built in advert break as they make you think “Oh there he goes, Bronson’s jabbering on again, I’ll put the kettle on” and they just completely broke up the momentum of the movie.

The best part of the biopic is the awesome selection of  synthy Eighties classics, including Glass Candy’s ‘Digital Versicolor’ and The Walker Brothers’ ‘The Electrician’, that punctuate the movie.  To be honest I think I could watch anything with these raw, era-defining tunes playing over the top,  including paint drying, Pride and Prejudice and famine. Also, Hardy’s performance as Bronson is superb as he get’s the voice, appearance and mannerisms spot-on. It is easy to see that he is going to go far in the film business.

It's Got: A brilliant Hardy performance, a great soundtrack, a frustrating lack of momentum

It Needs: Less of the ad breaks, to hold the attention more towards the end

DVD Extras ‘Making of' featurette, a decent piece on Hardy's personal training, some trailers and TV spots, an interesting audio recording from Bronson himself - worth it for the final feature DVD Extras Rating: 8/10

Alternatives:

Chopper, Mr. Nice, This is England

Summary

A frustrating biopic of ‘Britain’s most dangerous prisoner’ that’s redeemed sightly by Hardy’s brilliant performance and a quality Eighties soundtrack.

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