Tom Hardy, Matt King, Terry Stone, Amanda Burton, Kelly Adams, Jonathan Phillips
SCR: Brock Norman Brock, Nicolas Winding Refn
DIR: Nicolas Winding Refn
MPAA: R for violent and disturbing content, graphic nudity, sexuality and language.
1 hour 28 mins
Violent experimental biopic tells the story of notorious UK prisoner Michael Gordon Peterson (Hardy), who took the name of American tough guy actor Charles Bronson to define his explosive personality.
A bare-knuckle boxer and prison lifer who spent 30 years in solitary confinement, Bronson narrates his story in vaudevillian stage makeup to a rapt crowd while the film unfolds – and the result is stunning.
Combining performance art, actual news footage, animation, musical sequences and truly dazzling vignettes, Bronson is unlike any film I’ve ever seen, unless we go all the way back to Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971) or Alan Parker’s Pink Floyd The Wall (1982).
Hardy’s tour-de-force performance is magnified by a bombastic classical score that somehow elevates the carnage and absurdity to an art form. And speaking of art, director and co-writer Refn manages to find a delicate connection between nihilism and artistic expression. Kubrick would be proud. (Magnolia)
— DENNIS WILLIS