After catching up with the Sky 1 mini “The Take” this week, which would have been quite dull without the hyperbolic performance by Tom Hardy, I decided to finally sit down and watch Bronson. Crazy is the word, I think.
Based on the “true story” of the still currently incarcerated Michael Peterson (‘Britian’s most violent prisoner‘); a man who robbed a post office and received a 7 year sentence, only to spend 30 of his 34 years in prison within solitary confinement for various violent episodes.
Nicholas Winding Refn (of Pusher fame) directs this plotless series of vignettes with a stylized, theatrical flair, most obviously indebted to Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, and perhaps with a bit of Chopper thrown in for good measure. Nowhere as serious-minded (or aesthetically controlled) as say, last year’s Hunger, this film still takes a few moments for you to ponder the ultimate worth of the British penal system.
Back to Tom Hardy: I think I can safely say, with only half the movie year over (with the majority of the films always weighted toward the half that has yet to come) that this is one of the stand-out performances of the year.
Not only has Hardy physically transformed himself (40 some pounds heavier, apparently), but the film gives him completely free reign to literally go ape-shit. Nihilistically fighting everything that moves and taking an eventual beating everytime. I’ll spare the film from the same sort of treatment and just say that it was engaging enough for me. The combination of Wagner and New Order was interesting too….