By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
Bronson features two talents that Hollywood has been throwing movies at like mad over the last few months in Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (The Pusher Trilogy) and English actor Tom Hardy (Inception). Since I was pretty much unfamiliar with both of them I figured I’d see what all the fuss was about.
The plot supposedly tells the story of Michael Peterson, who picked up the name Charles Bronson while bareknuckle boxing. He is Britain’s “most famous prisoner,” spending 34 years, 30 in solitary for an armed robbery which netted him 20 pounds (30 bucks). He’s hardly Jean Valjean, though, earning his time with over a dozen hostage takings, and a refusal to follow any rule imposed on him. He’s also published eleven books and won awards for his art and poetry, all while doing around 2,500 pushups a day.
He’s pretty much the con Da Vinci, with possibly an even better beard
You know you’re not in for the usual biopic format pretty much from the beginning, and especially when a twelve year old punches his teacher across the room. What follows becomes progressively more manic, especially after he’s first incarcerated and starts his nude reign of terror. I wasn’t sure how to take what was essentially a performance art piece by Tom Hardy at first, but the film started to win me over about the time he starts singing in some kind of flapper clown makeup.
What can I say, he’s charismatic
Speaking of Hardy, he’s amazing. He is asked to be incredibly versatile, and he does it with aplomb and humor, but with such a rage that’s almost frightening to watch. Once everything comes together for him he could be one of the greats. Refn’s direction is almost as promising, displaying a dazzling display of styles and originality and a gift for editing.
He also earns the first beer, as that style isn’t balanced with a feel for story and pacing, which borders on the incoherent. Arguably, that’s the point, but I still have to call shenanigans on the choice of constant repetition of hostage situations vs. exploring the award-winning artist and writer side of the man much past some freaky Monty Python meets Ralph Steadman on crack animation.
And… that’s enough of that
Speaking of repetition, our first male full frontal scene occurs about a minute and a half in, and then probably every 10-15 minutes afterwards. Sometimes there are amusing variations, like when he as a hostage grease him up before the guards burst in to subdue him, but I only need to see Hardy’s dick swing in slow motion to classical music as he goes after a prison guard so many times before I kinda get the point.
This one is plenty artsy- fartsy, so avoid if that frightens you. If it doesn’t, there’s enough style and acting chops to be worth your time.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time Bronson gets in a fight
Take a Drink: for every quasi-coherent scream
Drink a Shot: you might die, but… every time you see Tom Hardy’s manhood