Bronson (2009)

Directed by:
Written by: ,
Starring: , , , , ,


BRONSON (2009)
Directed by
Nicolas Winding Refn

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, 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 whilst the film explore’s his life through Bronson-tinted glasses, toying with the surreal and animated creations of his mind. With an incredible soundtrack accentuating the beats of the story, BRONSON is an entertaining and eye-opening film about the longstanding inmate. Here’s hoping Charlie will one day get to see it himself.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Avatar photo
About Bat 4431 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.


  1. Fine review, Bat. I watched this on Film 4 recently and found it a little disappointing. Although Tom Hardy’s take of Bronson is outstanding, the movie does not really examine why the character acts the way he does. He seems to be a complete attention seeker and totally incapable of proper social interaction in society. The film is stylishly shot but oddly paced. I found it rather gloomy and my least favourite part of Refn’s work.

    • I think Bronson just is how he is naturally. I understand your thoughts on the film on that they didn’t exactly add depth, but I suppose when you’ve been inside for all of your life, they’ve got to represent the reality of it. Bronson’s personality as depicted by Tom Hardy kept me captivated throughout. Love this music in it too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.