Dir. Nicolas Winding Renf; UK; 2009; Biography/Drama/Thriller; Tom Hardy, Matt King; 92 mins
BRONSON is going on the list. I don’t know an awful lot about Michael Peterson, the real life “hard man” the film portrays, so I have some interest to learn more. I’ve only ever seen one Nicolas Winding Renf film, FEAR X – which didn’t really leave an impression when I caught it at my first Sitges festival in 2003, but I like the look of the BRONSON trailers so I’m keen to see more.
However, some reviews point to the film’s lack of story so I may be left none the wiser about the man. There’s also the suggestion that Renf’s attempts at stylized violence are little more than film school magic tricks so the trailer’s visual appeal may become dull and monotonous over the 92 minute run-time. Fortunately, the real draw to this film for me is Tom Hardy’s performance as Bronson. His turn as Handsome Bob in last year’s ROCKNROLLA, although small, was class (see our 2008 Blog) and reviews would suggest he’s outdone himself here by totally transforming into the notorious nut-job, mentally and physically.
I’ve not read all the reviews but some draw comparisons with Andrew Dominik’s film CHOPPER, Kubrik’s CLOCKWORK ORANGE (glamourizing violence), and even THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. I’ve not yet seen a review that mentions Alan Clarke’s SCUM which would seem more of a logical comparison to draw considering both film’s apparent take on the failings of the penal system. Ray Winstone’s class turn as inmate Carlin could be classed as his break out performance, as this role may prove to be for Hardy.
Having baffled us by presenting Brian Cox with the best actor award at last year’s festival, Sitges will perhaps have the chance to restore order in the cinematic universe by bestowing the same honour on Hardy this year.
But what do critics and festival juries know anyway? Read below to find out……