Bronson (UK, 2008)

10913734_800Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn. Within the first few minutes, it struck me that this looks a lot more like Derek Jarman’s biopic Wittgenstein than any Nicolas Winding Refn movie I’d ever seen. Like a lot of people, this Danish wunderkind caught my attention with last year’s Drive, and I set to work at his filmography at once. Tom Hardy—the thinking man’s Jason Statham—has also caught my eye, and I thought that Bronson would be a good 2-birds-1-stone type deal. This is certainly not a Hollywood biopic. This is very European, very arty, full of Brechtian distancing, self-aware asides, violations of the fourth wall, presentational acting and the like. It’s interesting, though, how this film also balances the elements of a good old, down and dirty British prison film with all of its abstract pretensions. This real life prisoner, born Michael Peterson before changing his name to Charles Bronson on a whim, is a fascinating character—at least the way that he is in this film via Hardy and Refn. I wonder about the wisdom of putting in fairly blatant homoerotic undercurrents to Bronson’s character, when this very masculine, ultra violent individual is still alive, so I hope for Refn’s sake that he doesn’t take offense (or escape anytime soon). Like all of Refn’s work, this isn’t for everyone. The uber-masculinity that Refn’s movies hint at will draw in many viewers who get a much larger dose of artistic sensibility and intellectual processing than they’re used to getting from the typical Hollywood “guy” movies. But at the very least, this is the most unique prison film you’re likely to see.

4 responses to “Bronson (UK, 2008)

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