First off we have to warn you that this isn’t a bio pic about Bronson Pinchot, so sorry to dissappoint all you Perfect Strangers fans out there. Some day your movie will be made; no way Hollywood could ignore his massive talent for much longer.
This biopic about England’s most famous prisoner is a bit of an odd duck. The story is told by Michael Peterson (a.k.a. Charlie Bronson), via a vaudeville act in front of a large crowd. There are brief monologues by Bronson (Tom Hardy) when the acts change or there is a lapse in time; while a bit off-putting at first, it really helps to tie the movie and its span of thirty years together.
When we first meet Bronson, we hear a bit about his childhood. Although he came from a very normal family, he was anything but. He craved attention, and got that through fighting; whether it be will fellow classmates or with his teachers. As a teenager, things got worse, as he added robbery to his repertoire. This hobby landed him a seven-year stay in prison, after being apprehended after robbing a post office. It is in prison, we lean, that Bronson feels at home, going so far to calling his cell his ‘hotel room’. Through his love of fighting, he quickly makes a name for himself as one guy not to be fucked with, and all of the other prisoners respect and admire him.
Since he is in constant trouble, he is transferred from prison to prison, but it’s the same everywhere he goes: guards and other prisoners beaten within an inch of their life. With no other options, the government sends him to an asylum where he is kept drugged for years. He gets out of a stupor long enough to try to kill a guy, so he goes to a prison for the criminally insane, where he soon initiates a full-scale riot. At their wit’s end, the best idea England has is to just let the guy go free, and they do. After finding it hard to adjust back into society, he finds a job he’s good at – a street fighter. He will fight anyone, and as many men and even dogs as he can, in order to get that rush he covets so much. After another botched robbery he is sent back into the clink, but finds an outlet in art, after not finding anyone who wants to fight him.
He resorts to taking his art teacher hostage in order to be able to take a couple of shots at the guards, which is all he ever wanted out of life. We learn that he is still in prison to this day, and is still kicking ass well into his 50’s.
Alex’s Thoughts: I was a little put off at first due to the odd presentation of this movie and the thick accent Tom Hardy uses throughout the film, but I eventually adjusted to it. I’m glad I kept watching because I saw one of the best performances of my life. Hardy is so great in this picture, and his ability to go from zero to 100% crazy in the drop of a hat is amazing. The story can be a bit slow and tedious at times, but you never get that from Hardy. I would recommend this to anyone who likes great acting, or dong,(there is A LOT of dong in this movie). After seeing Inception, I knew Tom Hardy was a good actor, but this makes me even more excited for The Dark Knight Rises. Alex Rates This Movie 9/10
Tim’s Thoughts: This is nearly a one man show, put on by Tom Hardy, and with the help of some unique cinematography he conveys just how crazy this “Bronson” is. The real trick that Hardy pulls off, is that you kind of like the vivaciousness of this lunatic, and I can’t help but attribute that to his acting. I will say that this is not for everyone, it is strangely paced, and some of the characters feel straight out of A Clockwork Orange, but if you want to see how great an actor Tom Hardy really is, this is a great place to start. And while not everyone will buy into the strange storytelling style, with the bizarre mix of vaudeville, I can’t help but feel that this only shows what an egomaniac this character really is, he perceives his entire life as a show, and he plays all the characters…… I am sure that the next time I watch this, I will come away with more insight, and see tons more stuff that I missed the first time around. Tim Rates This Movie 9/10
“You don’t want to be trapped inside with me sunshine. Inside, I’m somebody nobody wants to fuck with do you understand?”