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26.2 miles in under 3 and a half hours. Sounds easy on paper and I will be posting regular updates, the highs and the lows. Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Review: Bronson

I still don't have a purpose in life. I want to be successful, happy, have kids, a loving marriage, yada, yada, yada.

When I was 14 I wanted to be a music journalist, and I still do, although the goalposts have changed dramatically. Still, it's an ambition of sorts. I'll take it.

Michael Peterson wanted to be famous for being a thug. A violent, indiscriminate hooligan. And, by jove, he's done it. By changing his name to Charles Bronson, growing a Victorian wrestler's moustache and being bald as a coot, he is infamous. 

Played on screen by the raw talent that is Tom Hardy, Bronson isn't so much brought to life as set in stone. His crimes and temperament are legendary anyway, so being able to visualise it, rather than imagine it is no great achievement. 

The man spent 30 years in solitary confinement. And they said the Watchmen was unfilmable. Why did the director Refn try this of all biopics? The key lies in its execution and place in the film sphere.

It is an arthouse film. Refn's use of theatre, addressing the camera, panto, cartoon and lighting all serve to make a potentially boring 90 minutes utterly engrossing.

Much has been made of the lack of answers the film gives as to why Bronson is the way he is. That is not the point. Bronson is a buffoon, a cross between a Forrest Gump and Ronnie Kray. He has no point and to create this film, Refn has demonstrated that you don't need a conclusion. Just tell the pitiful story of this contemptible, mindless idiot. But tell it well.

And Hardy and Refn combine to leave you, not asking questions, but clapping your hands at a job well done. Hardy's unflinching, bulked up performance ranks alongside Stuart: A Life Backwards and I look forward to him making continually demanding and brave choices.

It is a film I will gladly watch again. Even though I find the character of Bronson so utterly vile and wanton, I can somehow ignore that and just watch a beautifully crafted film. I will not waste one second thinking about his plight, his aims, his point, I just wait with baited breath to see what the team will produce next time.

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