Underrated Films presents: Bronson

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Bronson 2008Nicolas Winding RefnNicolas Winding RefnTom Hardy, Matt KingMichael Gordon Peterson Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Bronson(2008)

Bitter Balcony has found an actor we can rally around and his name is: Ben Affleck!!! A shrewd master of disguise, superbly emotive, and with loads of screen presence to spare, Affleck’s thespian gifts make us spill a tear and dry it with a gentle touch of a silk handkerchief...

…OK, now that we did our best Ben Lyons impersonation, we can actually herald talent. Right now we are showing cinematic props for the chameleon-like Tom Hardy. His popularity has grown since his impressive performance as a clever forger in “Inception.” Hardy is on the brink of stardom, and with the Max Rockatansky role he inherited from Mel Gibson; soon the young Englishman will join previous imports such as Clive Owen and Daniel Craig in ranks of Jolly Cool. And, like Owen’s poker face in “Croupier” and Craig’s wits in “Layer Cake,” Hardy has his own buried treasure in 2008’s “Bronson.”

As career jailbird Michael Gordon Peterson, proclaimed England’s most violent prisoner, Hardy turns into a beastly man-child, one whose desire for celebrity rivals Paris Hilton’s, but don’t let our head-scratching comparison to a spoiled heiress turn you off. “Bronson” is a visually rich, grudgingly humorous story of a real-life brute with an uncontrollable rage centered in the hellish hallways of the U.K prison system. He wears his prisoner status as a badge of honor.

Peterson, who adopts the name “Charles Bronson” after his homosexual underground fight promoter Paul (Matt King), suggests the alias, feasts on pounding the living crap out of cops and boxers. Hardy packed on the muscle for this role and he physically and mentally captures “Bronson’s” ire. He also manages to bring empathy, displayed in his failed attempt at a romance with Alison (Juliet Oldfield), one of Paul’s groupies.

“Bronson” was written for the screen and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, a Danish filmmaker who is a veteran of crime dramas (“Pusher,” “Bleeder”). He also directed “Valhalla Rising,” which was panned by our main man JAS. To Refn’s credit, for all the violence and shock Peterson’s story offers; there is a lack of substance underneath it all that leaves the director with little to work with. Refn makes the most of it, adding fourth-wall staging for “Bronson” to embellish, and an intriguing visual critique of the bureaucracy of British law. However, the journey wouldn’t be as compelling if not for Hardy, whose commitment to “Bronson” and his burly antics lands him in territory only Gary Oldman has gone before.


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Bronson2008Nicolas Winding RefnNicolas Winding RefnTom Hardy, Matt KingMichael Gordon Peterson  Bronson2008Nicolas Winding RefnNicolas Winding RefnTom Hardy, Matt KingMichael Gordon Peterson  Bronson2008Nicolas Winding RefnNicolas Winding RefnTom Hardy, Matt KingMichael Gordon Peterson 

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