Charles Bronson is Britain’s most famous prisoner. He was originally sentenced to 7 years for a small robbery, but his term has been continually extended due to his violent crimes behind bars. So far he’s spent 34 years in prison, 30 of which have been in solitary confinement.
Despite my opinion that this was mostly a big mess of a film, I still recommend it just for Tom Hardy’s performance alone, which is out of this world good. This is probably the biggest physical transformation I’ve seen since Christian Bale in The Machinist. Hardy carries the whole film and is great fun to watch, and he’s officially an up and coming actor to keep an eye on.
Director Nicolas Winding Refn, however, tries so hard to imitate the style of A Clockwork Orange that it seems like he pays no attention to pacing or plot. Bronson ends up being a perfect example of all style and no substance, which is really unfortunate considering it’s based on such a wild true story about such an interesting man. It is beautiful to look at though, so it works on some level. A few of the stylizations are brilliant, such as the animation sequence and Bronson’s stage performance, but it all feels like a collection of scenes jumbled together rather than a continuous film.
Besides Hardy, the best thing about Bronson is the music, which again, is straight out of A Clockwork Orange. The music is beautiful, fits perfectly, and carries the film almost as much as Hardy’s performance.