In Charlie Bronson's world, pain does not exist as either a hindrance nor pleasure. It exists as madness, pure and concentrate. Nicolas Winding Refn's latest film is a hybrid of a surreal arthouse piece combined with a biopic that is as short-lived as Bronson's time out of the bird. Long since have I seen Refn's previous effort titled Fear X and had you read my review of the film, you'd recall that film forcing tears from my face at a mere 15 minutes in. But the rumors of his company's bankruptcy made me feel as if it were the end of his short-lived yet illustrious filmmaking career. After I heard the title Bronson being circulated through the gossip mill, I thought to myself "Who'd want to see a film about Charles Bronson?" Not to knock his acting credentials or anything but the man seems hardly fitting for anything I'd love to experience through a visual third-person art piece. The term art is also applied very loosely, gentlemen. After reading who the director was, my heart skipped a beat and I soon endeavored into a film other than Die Hard that made me want to walk outside, inhale a deep breath of fresh, free air and punch someone in their fucking face. Welcome, folks, to the demoniac composure of Bronson.
Bronson follows an infamous prisoner named Mickey Peterson who, after robbing a post office and initially receiving 7 years in prison, blows his short time behind bars into an overwhelming 34 years locked away, eventually becoming a victim of his own aggravated insanity. This berserk powerhouse of insane glee has given way for the near perfect portrait of creative liberties with an identity and a stunning and successful enactment to get inside of the mind of an unstable, hyper-violent machine. Buzz on the street even leads to a potential Academy nod for Tom Hardy's breakout performance. From RocknRolla's queer to Bronson's machismo statue, Hardy's turnover as our troublemaker at least deserves him some critical status and to be completely fair, It would seem much of Hardy's influence on mannerisms is a mix of the real Charlie Bronson and Daniel Plainfield's character in There Will Be Blood. Note the scene in which he responds to an attempted hostage negotiation with "What have you got?!" The similar demeanor, head shudder, and tone bring Daniel Day-Lewis' character specifically to mind, although I could be mistaken.
A notion recently brought to mind, most "bloggers" don't really understand the nature of the film they're viewing nor do they grasp the fact that this film is presented through the mind of someone who is not all "together" up there. A Current.TV film review chronicles the scattered thoughts of video bloggers and manipulated women alike. Such thoughts as "not a complete biopic" and "bad pacing" were some of but the few complaints against this film. Granted, every film is magnetic towards harsh criticism but if anything, only the male nudity could be lashed at as seen by the opening weekend pour out of Watchmen reviews. The pacing in Bronson was set at a remarkably fast and efficient speed that, by the end of the scene, you're left wanting more. Remember kids, Bronson isn't a godforsaken miniseries. It's a two-hour feature length presentation without the desire to bore with more than bargained for. Another waived the fact that the picture is "indie" and expressed a contempt for the operatic violence while referencing the notion that Refn "must have seen A Clockwork Orange!" Wow, bitch, way to read back Damien McSorely's quote directly from the theatrical trailer. Vile and spiteful cynicism aside, the film contains nothing akin of Kubrick's "best," as there is nary a scene of rehabilitation in sight nor is there any morals dictated other than madness rules all in it's own kingdom.
Visually, Bronson is an arresting feat in starched and rusted masculinity with a raw contemptuous anger for authority. Refn must have a deep chip on the shoulder for creating such a maniacal fit of renegade filmmaking that even only begins to humanize such a monster. and in the meantime making him one of recent cinema's most beloved starring character. It's generally safe to say that tight and taut editing and brilliant palettes of blood and bruises make Bronson the only quintessential biopic but not only within the characters deeds, the entire tale is weaved masterfully. Whether to thank the fantastic storytelling or the ability to create an unofficial Problem Child 3: Goes to Prison is beyond me. If anything, I congratulate Refn for creating an icon purely consisting of utter destruction - a masculine tornado of whose virility is untouched in any way, shape or form. It doesn't even matter which badge you carry. Finally, a villain of which you can safely root for.
Armed with a violent nature one can appreciate, Bronson maims the competition as being fiercely watchable. In fact, I haven't been able to rewatch a film in some time but Bronson has me viewing this film over & over again as I introduce new people of Refn's more accessible masterpieces. Bronson certainly didn't leave me sobbing like Fear X did, but Bronson is more of an intimate film. That's surprising to even my self. I haven't seen the lauded Pusher trilogy but knowing my past with his works and how deeply they've touched me in many-a-clever emotion, I'm sure I can find something personal to adore about it (them.) Bronson is the "indie" classic to end all classics. Now I'm sure I won't think this when another gem comes along but as it stands, Bronson is one of the only films that make potential homicide look thrilling and admissible as an everyday activity in physical vulgarity. A hay maker for critics, this is one motion picture that won't leave my head for sometime.