Bronson

Film

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>1</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Mar 10 2009

Since 1974, Michael Peterson, who uses the name of ‘Death Wish’ actor Charles Bronson, has been free from jail for only two short periods. The Luton-bred hard man first got seven years for robbery; most of the rest he accrued in prison for crimes ranging from kidnap to GBH.

The makers of this new film, in which Tom Hardy plays Peterson, offer a stylised, sympathy-craving portrait of the man, but it’s a shoddy and morally nasty film that leaves a terrible taste in the mouth. It takes us from Peterson’s childhood to the present via episodes  in his life such as his incarceration in a mental hospital and the kidnapping of a prison art teacher. Much of it consists of brief, self-consciously arty but ultimately artless tableaux bolstered by voiceover or music, which betrays a flimsy, show-and-tell approach to filmmaking.

There are imaginary interludes of Bronson  entertaining in a music hall, but these just suggest that Bronson craves fame: nothing too incisive there, then. One laughable sequence set at a prison party suggests an A Level theatre studies project after an outing to see ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’.

There’s a fatal tension between film and script: Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (‘Pusher’, ‘Bleeder’) brashly channels Kubrick, with slowmo tracking shots set to obvious classical or choral music and looking to lend poetry to violence, while Brock Norman Brock’s pedestrian scenario is forever apologising for Peterson’s behaviour. Brock suggests that it doesn’t matter if Bronson tries to kill or kidnap someone as long as that person is a paedophile or, in the case of the teacher, a fluffy liberal who peppers his speech with Spanish.

Hardy delivers a committed if showy performance, but there are some awful smaller turns which smell dangerously of homophobia. The whole thing made me want to scrub my brain with Vim.
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Release details

UK release:

Fri Mar 13, 2009

Duration:

92 mins

Cast and crew

Cast:

Matt King, Tom Hardy, Amanda Burton

Screenwriter:

Brock Norman Brock

Director:

Nicolas Winding Refn

Cinematography:

Larry Smith

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:13
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|45
1 person listening
Darren

Brilliant film, as for dave calhouns 1 sided view on homophobia not every one thinks the government brainwashed way he does, we are allowed to have an opinion even if it offends.its my right to think and be different.

Darren

Brilliant film, as for dave calhouns 1 sided view on homophobia not every one thinks the government brainwashed way he does, we are allowed to have an opinion even if it offends.its my right to think and be different.

saph

All i can say about the film is i liked it in fact i Fucking loved it but its only loosely based on the real man he has inspired me into researching him now and try and write a book on him there is so much more to him then meets the eye he.s being wrongly imprisoned and his art work has made me start my drawing up again and have me a great next tattoo since i started reading up on him can i say the film is slightly relevant he.s been through some beatings lately inside by screws for no reason but the film still funny as and love tom hardy

saph

All i can say about the film is i liked it in fact i Fucking loved it but its only loosely based on the real man he has inspired me into researching him now and try and write a book on him there is so much more to him then meets the eye he.s being wrongly imprisoned and his art work has made me start my drawing up again and have me a great next tattoo since i started reading up on him can i say the film is slightly relevant he.s been through some beatings lately inside by screws for no reason but the film still funny as and love tom hardy

bex

I thought this film was absolutely hilarious and agree that the TimeOut critic must have some personal problem with the film/director/actor whatever. Bronson has not done enough to warrant his time in prison so so what if the film is slightly sympathetic to him? I thought Tom Hardy was brilliant and hilarious and I'm still going round saying 'Onwards & upwards-a!' three months after seeing the film. Hilarious, classic has to be seen. Also, to all the people slagging off the film, acting, directing etc; if you are going to slag off someone's work please at least use spell check or something, as to state that someone else's work is, and I quote 'Boaring and pretencious' when you do not even have a basic grasp of the English language is a bit much, I think! Also got to love the person slagging off the film stating "I haven't read the book, but I imagine if the film had been made more similar (?) it would have been better!' WTF. Nowt as queer as folk!

martin r

Slow to get off the ground,unconvincing stunts.Actor is more like Alf Garnet!!!

paul

3rd watch. I think the reason Hardy was described commited/showy, was because he tried to capture Bronson but was too likeable. All that this film did was show how good an actor Hardy is, i found myself wondering where had they put bronson. The theatrics serve purpose in that they hit on his delusion of grandeur, and are not for the Clockwork o effect. Thumbs up for Hardy Thumbs down for makers of the film, and middle finger for the reviewer of this film. Last but not least, shame on the system for locking away a man who have done little in comparison to the atrocious things done in this world by sick silent bstards beneath Great Britains radar

Alex

Who is this Dave Calhoun guy you have reviewing films? His 'review' seems more like a biased rambling attack than a thoughtful valued critique. 1 star for this film? I'm sorry but Tom Hardys performance alone is worth recommending to some readers even if its not 'your cup of tea' which is the only reason I can see for you to rate this so lowly Dave. Timeout, please employ some sensible, film educated reviewers, its like Claudia Winkleman on Film 2011 on here! 'Hardy delivers a committed if showy performance (?), but there are some awful smaller turns which smell dangerously of homophobia (?). The whole thing made me want to scrub my brain with Vim.' need I say any more?!

Alex

Who is this Dave Calhoun guy you have reviewing films? His 'review' seems more like a biased rambling attack than a thoughtful valued critique. 1 star for this film? I'm sorry but Tom Hardys performance alone is worth recommending to some readers even if its not 'your cup of tea' which is the only reason I can see for you to rate this so lowly Dave. Timeout, please employ some sensible, film educated reviewers, its like Claudia Winkleman on Film 2011 on here! 'Hardy delivers a committed if showy performance (?), but there are some awful smaller turns which smell dangerously of homophobia (?). The whole thing made me want to scrub my brain with Vim.' need I say any more?!

Phil

Having seen the film a number of times and reading all the review's on here, it's obvious that the many many "Chritic's" have never lived in the real world ! To those who have "lived" will know being banged up aint no holiday when it's solitary confinement, and certainly not 30 years of it, For a man to be banged up for so long for doing so litte, is in it's self a crime for what he's done, and would agree with some, being in there has got to have taken it's toll on his mental state which it obviously has, especially when you have nonces who rape kids- murder kids -torture kids etc (the list could go on & on & on) and all they get is slapped wrists for their crimes, these are the one's who should be banged up not for 35 years but for a real Life till death sentences & without protection ! (rule 43) Tom Hardy is a great British Actor & played the part as he should have, the film, again was great, comical at times as it should be, being based on True event's, & people should think what the nick has done to C Bronson not just Mentally but Phisically ! What about his human right's eh. Bomber's, Nonces & other's have done much much worse crimes, & have, and get more right's & do less time ! Great Acting & Great Film.

Phil

Having seen the film a number of times and reading all the review's on here, it's obvious that the many many "Chritic's" have never lived in the real world ! To those who have "lived" will know being banged up aint no holiday when it's solitary confinement, and certainly not 30 years of it, For a man to be banged up for so long for doing so litte, is in it's self a crime for what he's done, and would agree with some, being in there has got to have taken it's toll on his mental state which it obviously has, especially when you have nonces who rape kids- murder kids -torture kids etc (the list could go on & on & on) and all they get is slapped wrists for their crimes, these are the one's who should be banged up not for 35 years but for a real Life till death sentences & without protection ! (rule 43) Tom Hardy is a great British Actor & played the part as he should have, the film, again was great, comical at times as it should be, being based on True event's, & people should think what the nick has done to C Bronson not just Mentally but Phisically ! What about his human right's eh. Bomber's, Nonces & other's have done much much worse crimes, & have, and get more right's & do less time ! Great Acting & Great Film.

Christopher Hancy

A movie made that really challenges preexisting ideas in film making? Or one that superficially pretends to do so? This movie is constantly compared with A clock work Orange. At the end of A clock work orange we are left with a strange desire for empathy for this social psychopath named Alex and loathing towards the "big brother" system which has taken away the liberties of free emotion from him - a dangerous concept. In Bronson the aim is exactly the same but without the same brilliance development of character and insight into the characters own and surrounding sociology or psychological insight - we learn nothing about the motives or creation of the Bronson psyche. so We can not empathize with him. The creation of Bronson appears as a shallow copy of pre- existing formulas -mentally ill are shown in all cliqued glory - each scene is Kubric , without Kubric being the one directing. but more annoying is the makeup of the main character Bronson in his "stage performances" - here we have a total surface copy of A clock work orange - there is no creative liberty taken what so ever, the whole farce can be seen as desperate attempts to make this movie "cool" instead of one that is really valid or honest as is Alex's much more masterfully delicate and personal monologues to the viewer in ACWO which delve into psychology and our undestanding and empathy of the main character. Also Comparisons to the Australian "Criminal cultural idol" Mark Brandon "chopper" Read are numerously made. There is no comparison to be made - We see Chopper as a real violent psychopath - but we also see the almost redeeming cleverness and psychology in him - we see the creation and effect of his charisma the power of it - but we also get a chance to see its fallacy and his own weakness in character, in the times that fail him , we are shown his blatant lust for fame and that his physical presence and "gift of gab" as a mask of his own insecurities and there we may emphasize with him as he appears as a small scared little boy. We see also to some degree the inner social workings inside the Australian prison System between the inmates themselves and the wardens - we see the hierarchy in effect. we also see this insight when Chopper is "outside". In Bronson We do not . The fact that one movie is Realistic and one is not then does not become an issue. Bronson is superficial movie making in all senses of the word. Bronson is churned out following every institutional clique after another here you do not see a movie directed by a brilliant individual or the acting of any brilliant individual or the creativity , but you see the regurgitation of textbook theories on film making - a movie created by a university without real depth or soul or understanding or individuality, Bronson is asked what does he want? Bronson answers "What have you got" Bronson is not like james Dean in rebel without a cause but he IS rebel without a cause. Bronson is cool. What are you rebelling against Johnny? "what have you got?" this is not a skillful comparison of character, but overly crude, blunt and cumbersome, as is any choice (or should I say copy) of vehicular or narrative devises used in the film making of this movie. The fact that Some people put in the effort to make a movie is applaudable, but to make a movie with the integrity to challenge Hollywood, this just is not the way. This movie constantly attempts to pull the wool over our eyes instead of melting us into its being or to allow us to be mesmerized or captivated into aligning with it - as is ONLY achieved with skillful mastery in movie work from all whom are involved . But here every scene is a blatant copy from somewhere other than the directors self, there is no directorial choice making or briliance is to be seen what so ever. the creativity is superficial as every "creative element" of this movie has been ripped and crudely glue-sticked and sticky- taped together. This film is a travesty to real creative film making and just must not be applauded for being so. It is a Tarantino movie without Tarantino's own original style of dialogue and character insight which gives credit to his more blatant cut and paste movie making than we see in other Hollywood films. But even a Tarantino movie has more subtlety in showing its influences and individual vision than this tripe. A Tarantino takes ideas and contexts and puts them in new combinations or awareness, for example; the western gunslingers, or samurai/kung fu warrior are shown in new situations now they are blended and in the playground of women in kill bill. a violent women anti hero being vastly unrepresented previously in Hollywood film making. Or presence of philosophically or socially comedic criminals in Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction, unforeseen by the masses before Tarantino, even Inglorious Bastards in being such an obvious display of thoughtless entertainment is in a way credible in its awareness of being so. But here no similar new combinations or relevations occur. Bronson is a psychopath who goes into a criminal system and comes out and we the viewer ar asked to side with the criminal -nothing new there - its based on a true story so there is not really much creative freedom available to be experimented with plot wise. So the creators of this film should be under the obligation as self respecting "creative people" to experiment though other mediums than plot vehicles. but as we see this done in the film of the same subjects "Chopper" REALLY we do not gain any new insight or experience anything result of creative expression from watching this film. we dont even gain the simple indulgence of thoughtless entertainment that we can gain from a Hollywood block buster because this film pretends to be something else; it pretends to be groundbreaking and artistic. Perhaps it is the actual intention of this movie - to show the viewer how the guise of artistic credibility can be used to cover a superficial and pointless work to an artistically ignorant viewer. If this is the case then this movie is in fact GENIOUS, but for some reason i suspect this is not the case, and is an example of the perpetration. Any display of the initiative required to make a movie in the first place is always applaudable. but we seem to be applauding this fact alone which blinds us to look at the actual validity of this movie in its heart and soul. It really is a pitty that what was made was such a display of institutional brainwashing comparable to that which occurs in Hollywood, but without the honesty of being what it is. I cannot help but feel the scarce monetary funding available from government grants and awarding bodies to support young filmmakers could have been used much more wisely to support for more deserving and creative young players in the independent film industry. Young talents whom really risk new boundaries and challenge our preexisting views in society. Those directors and film makers whom question us the viewer through their work maintaining our loyalty and acceptance of the new ideas through mastery and skillful use of the film medium. Not those whom take an easy and pointless route embarking on constant immature and superficial quests for glory, recognition and cool-status from those still wishing to achieve the same thing themselves.

dan patterson

Where did you lot at Time Out london pick up this Dave Calhoun guy from, he actually makes money making his fevered rantings? firstly at what point was it craving sympathy? you then contradicted this by saying it was morally nasty, and that it leaves a nasty taste in your mouth( i'm ignoring sloppy, cause at no part in the film is it sloppy). you utter moron, it's a film about a mental guy in prison who paints swastika's on the walls in blood, its going to leave a nasty taste in the mouth with possible homophobic notions, it's supposed to be gritty, and yes theatrical, but its not a fucking pantomime. i personally think this is one of the best directed films i've seen for along time. The direction in photography is amazing, the musical direction counter pointed with build ups and releases of tension are spot on, especially with its use of classical music. and the comical narrated bits clearly help express the insane appearance of this guy's mind being played out to "normal" people. this film cannot be compared to chopper, in that they are both directed with completely different intensions in mind. this is an art house film, a very good art house film, but thats what you have to remember when going to see it. if you like straight cut fast paced hollywood action films than this probably isn't the right film for you. think clockwork orange, if you hated that than you'll probably hate this. awesome piece film making, five stars.

dan patterson

Where did you lot at Time Out london pick up this Dave Calhoun guy from, he actually makes money making his fevered rantings? firstly at what point was it craving sympathy? you then contradicted this by saying it was morally nasty, and that it leaves a nasty taste in your mouth( i'm ignoring sloppy, cause at no part in the film is it sloppy). you utter moron, it's a film about a mental guy in prison who paints swastika's on the walls in blood, its going to leave a nasty taste in the mouth with possible homophobic notions, it's supposed to be gritty, and yes theatrical, but its not a fucking pantomime. i personally think this is one of the best directed films i've seen for along time. The direction in photography is amazing, the musical direction counter pointed with build ups and releases of tension are spot on, especially with its use of classical music. and the comical narrated bits clearly help express the insane appearance of this guy's mind being played out to "normal" people. this film cannot be compared to chopper, in that they are both directed with completely different intensions in mind. this is an art house film, a very good art house film, but thats what you have to remember when going to see it. if you like straight cut fast paced hollywood action films than this probably isn't the right film for you. think clockwork orange, if you hated that than you'll probably hate this. awesome piece film making, five stars.

Nick Cooley

tryhard direction... tryhard story line... you want a grwat movie about a hard man prisioner? Get CHPPOER. UKs tryhard attempt at CHOPPER is this film ... what a joke. All you see is 400 fights of him going the cops. The comedy is weak and there is no storyline just weirdness that is meant to be artistic that some so called artistic people will call creative.

Stanza

This is the most boaring, pretencious film I have had the misfortune to see in some time. No story worth telling. If I could I would give it a zero star rating. Remove from your list and watch Fightclub or Beowolf instead.

bob smith

I always used to believe a good Time Out review. How wrong could you be about this film. You gave it one star the general public gave it an average of 3. People read these reviews and make their minds up as to seeing the film or not. If I were the film company I'd sue your arse as it would have lost them money. A British film company as well. I bet if it was a big Hollywood film company production the reviews would be more favourable. I for one (and I'm not alone here) will not trust a Time Out review again. You have disgraced yourselves on this one.

sam gibson

i was looking forward to seein this film but now i have seen it in think its shit! never heard of the guy who directed it but he should try summat different. i have not read the autobiography but i imagine that if the film had been made more similar to the book it would have been better! bored out my skull watchin load of shit!!!!!!!!

Charlton

Total MINCE! Read his biography 2 years ago and quite enjoyed it, but this is awfull! Don't waste your time!

rob

Bronson is dangerous and violent man who should rightly be behind bars (in case you didn't notice he is)! Art to me is a less literal way of understanding the human condition than a purely scientific assessment. Art should never pretend to be be unbiased and in certain circumstances SHOULD be challenging to our accepted notions of moraliy etc. As such I found this film fascinating and compelling. If there are idiots out there who would like to emulate Bronson at least the movie does not shy away from depicting the fact that 30 years of solitary confinement will be the likely result.

Thom

I'm not easily offended, nor am I small minded. I thought the violence in this film wasn't too bad, nor was I offended by it. I did, however, think it was one of the most utterly shit films I've ever seen in my entire life.

Miss G

Read the book and was quites disturbed to be honest. I think a man expressing himself the only way he knows how does not deserve 34 years in prison. God Bless Charles Bronson! All you synical people should think more about what 34 years has done to his mind and why he is the way he is. All over £27. You all call him an animal because of it. Get over yourselves. You and your kids have probably done worse.

Miss G

Read the book and was quites disturbed to be honest. I think a man expressing himself the only way he knows how does not deserve 34 years in prison. God Bless Charles Bronson! All you synical people should think more about what 34 years has done to his mind and why he is the way he is. All over £27. You all call him an animal because of it. Get over yourselves. You and your kids have probably done worse.

harpal

I thought that it was a great film if violent too. Iloved the contrast of the classical music and the violent nature of bronson.great actor.

harpal

I thought that it was a great film if violent too. Iloved the contrast of the classical music and the violent nature of bronson.great actor.

usman khawaja

CRIMINAL OFFENCE AND OFFENSIVE CINEMA They are both synonyms for the worst kubrick version attempted oN the vestiges of clockwork orange and it should be called -EMBARRASSONSON. crime and prison and freedom and punishment and individual rights and personal liberty is made into an intolerable farce thanks to UK FILM COUNCIL -CRIMINAL PROSECUTION IS IN ORDER

takeitorleaveit

Bronson is a visceral feast! Tom H was enthralling, flourishing under the great Dane’s Nicholas refn’s directorial style. See the movie and make your own mind up as opinions that are based on preconceived notions are pure bigotry. Surely we should be reading ‘informed opinions’?

takeitorleaveit

Bronson is a visceral feast! Tom H was enthralling, flourishing under the great Dane’s Nicholas refn’s directorial style. See the movie and make your own mind up as opinions that are based on preconceived notions are pure bigotry. Surely we should be reading ‘informed opinions’?

blueboyalx

It wasn't a great film by any means and if by slowing down brutal fights and playing classical music on top of it works for some people, it sure didn't for me...I also felt that I never really found anything out about Bronson. He appeared naive and childlike in some scenes, violent in most but I didn't get to know anything that was going on inside his head, which left the film pretty empty. Hardy's Bronson also kept reminding me of Al Murray (the pub landlord comedian), only mad as a bag of spiders....on speed.

Sb

It was ok But not the best film i have ever seen, the musics gets really annoying though.

jake

i can not believe it rapists pedos and terrorists are relesed every day and this man has beten people witch compared to some crimes is v little and he is set to never come out i think and i know im gunna get stick for this but i think he is missunderstood there u go i sed it but hey have your own oppinion soz about the spellin.

jake

i can not believe it rapists pedos and terrorists are relesed every day and this man has beten people witch compared to some crimes is v little and he is set to never come out i think and i know im gunna get stick for this but i think he is missunderstood there u go i sed it but hey have your own oppinion soz about the spellin.

marcuscamden

this is a terrible, pretentious, morally vacuous film about a repugnant animal.The over-rated Tom Hardy plays him as Shinzon from Nemesis with a gay moustache.Rubbish

paul liverpool

bronson is not a sad case or an animal he obviously needed to do what he had to do to survive in this god forsaken world wher e everyone is out for themselves and nobody cares about anyone else but will condem if exposedthey dont fit into there world of hypocracy who are we to condemn when we are being robbed by the system continuousley people live differntly look to help not label bronson has a story try to understand your critic is very bitter he must have something in his cupboard that needs scrubbing with vim

paul liverpool

bronson is not a sad case or an animal he obviously needed to do what he had to do to survive in this god forsaken world wher e everyone is out for themselves and nobody cares about anyone else but will condem if exposedthey dont fit into there world of hypocracy who are we to condemn when we are being robbed by the system continuousley people live differntly look to help not label bronson has a story try to understand your critic is very bitter he must have something in his cupboard that needs scrubbing with vim

John Smith

Over the past week the media attention over this 'violent' criminal is staggering, unlike most vile people in this world Charles Bronson has not killed anyone or raped anyone or is a paedophile, maybe people should pay more attention to the other horrors of the world instead of trying to tarnish the rep of an amazing movie, and to the people who think that this film glorifies violence maybe they should stop kids watching films like Saw and Hostel which are sick and pointless.

John Smith

Over the past week the media attention over this 'violent' criminal is staggering, unlike most vile people in this world Charles Bronson has not killed anyone or raped anyone or is a paedophile, maybe people should pay more attention to the other horrors of the world instead of trying to tarnish the rep of an amazing movie, and to the people who think that this film glorifies violence maybe they should stop kids watching films like Saw and Hostel which are sick and pointless.

g

For me, the film was confused rather than terrible and had images which stuck in my head afterwards (although I'm not sure I want to srub them out with vim). The only point that struck me emotionally was the idea that Bronson had no idea what he wanted.

Helen

Glorifying animals like Bronson in a film is only going to appeal to kids who are wannabe gangsters, the deeply unintelligent (see Ged's review) and other criminals. What a complete waste of time, money and of Tom Hardy's talents.

ged wilson

yeah, seen bronson, a true hard hitting film . want the dvd. tom was great and ya even had ya rock singer in it . i seen on the blog that daz leigh had a part and yes spotted him . shorter hair. truely fantastic film . hope he gets released soon as i think the prison and system are to blame ! he has never killed enyone ! after 35 years its past time to free him ! mr brown ( mp ) ? ha ! come on ! free him !!

ged wilson

yeah, seen bronson, a true hard hitting film . want the dvd. tom was great and ya even had ya rock singer in it . i seen on the blog that daz leigh had a part and yes spotted him . shorter hair. truely fantastic film . hope he gets released soon as i think the prison and system are to blame ! he has never killed enyone ! after 35 years its past time to free him ! mr brown ( mp ) ? ha ! come on ! free him !!