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A young man who was sentenced to 7 years on prison for robbing a post office ends up spending 30 years in solitary confinement. During this time, his own personality is supplanted by his alter ego, Charles Bronson.
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Released in the UK on the 13th March in 2009, the film was given positive reviews and even got over £250,000 on itís opening weekend alone, despite the fact it was seen controversial by some people. Bronson (dir. Nicholas Winding Refn) is a film that is very brutal, but it is also very artistic as well.
The film follows the life of Charles Bronson, a man who has been claimed by the media as ďBritainís Most Dangerous PrisonerĒ, as the story goes through his new life as a prisoner and what he went through to keep himself in prison for his reputation from the 1970s to the present day.
There are several scenes where Bronson (Tom Hardy) is outside of his prison lifestyle, which is a quick brief of his life before his sentence and forced to be released by the authorities. Though these scenes offer a nice break from his prison settings, they donít offer much for the character to develop and itís fortunate that the scenes donít last very long.
The film has an artistic twist that I was personally not expecting and though these scenes may appear odd and peculiar for a film about a violent man, they offer an opportunity for the audience to see he is more human than he first appears. For example, there are sequences shown in between some of the scenes where he appears on a stage in front of an audience dressed like a French clown and tells the audience what happened after that scene before the next in a humorous fashion, giving the actor much for flexibility with the characteristics of Bronson.
The director of the film, Nicholas Winding Refn, has previously made films that did contain some strong, violent scenes, including The Pusher Series (dir. Nicholas Winding Refn) and Fear X (dir. Nicholas Winding Refn). With Bronson, he has done another attempt at a violent film and has done so with an artistic and fresh take.
His direction on the filmís subject could have been made very similar to other violent British films like The Football Factory (dir. Nick Love), but instead he wanted to focus more on the development of the main character through his life behind bars. This is usually shown mostly through each of the prisons he is changed to and he faces many of their different treatments, including one prison he goes to where heís treated as a person with psychological problems and therefore it results in him becoming desperate and needy to change back into his previous prison.
The artistic scenes are also another great choice for the director to add in, because this helps to bring a fresh view for the artistic filmgoer. With scenes of Bronson standing on a stage in comic make-up, his personal exploration through arts and crafts and the way the cinematographer captured the film with smooth, carefully planned shots, this film brings two very different elements and blends them together with great results.
My overall opinion on the film is that while it may not be everyoneís taste, it does manage to tell a story of violence creatively and it will also give a great opportunity for people who havenít heard of the story of Charles Bronson to pick up and watch this film through the eyes of a British prisoner.