Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Written by Brock Norman Brock and Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring Tom Hardy, Kelly Adams, Katy Barker, Amanda Burton, Matt King and Andrew Forbes
Tom Hardy bulked up to play “Britain’s most dangerous inmate”, Michael Peterson, more commonly known by his fighting name, Charlie Bronson. Charlie has spent over 36 years in prison, 32 of those in solitary confinement and this film condenses the life he has lived into an hour and a half film, which makes for compelling viewing. Charlie first got put behind bars in 1974 for armed robbery of a post office, in which he stole £26.18 and was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Despite the gun not being loaded and no-one being hurt, Charlie ended up in prison for 14 years. When you see murderers these days being sentenced 5 years, it makes your blood boil, especially when someone like Charlie, who’s never killed anyone or harmed a woman or child, is in prison indefinitely.
Bronson starts off with Charlie as a toddler and progresses by showing him growing up through school until he gets a part time shop in the chip shop in his late teens. From these short scenes of him battering his mates and teacher and pinching from the chippy’s till, we can see from the start that Charlie was a bit of a rogue with a short temper. In the film, most of the violence we see is towards authoritative figures in the prisons and we get the impression Charlie is frustrated and enjoys whacking a few people to get it out of his system. The film is bright and colourful, with different scenes focusing on individual, mesmerising colours. The scenes feel authentic and the cells Charlie finds himself in feel small, claustrophobic and dingy, certainly a place I would not like to be in. None of the scenes ever feel cold. There’s always a purpose and a spark there, just because Charlie’s a part of it. Likewise, the film has a dark humour about it and it gives the impression that Charlie has an optimistic outlook on life, despite being locked away for most of it. Charlie comes across as a likeable guy who you root and feel for and although he’s violent to some of the guards, does it warrant his extra long stint in prison?
Tom Hardy is marvellous as the Luton muscle man and really brings Charlie’s story across. With his story made into a film, it helps the general public to understand the man better instead of reading the lies the media like to publicise about him. BRONSON is an enjoyable and eye-opening film and here’s hoping Charlie will one day get to see it himself.
For more info on Charlie Bronson, visit http://www.freebronson.co.uk/