|Week 6: Bronson
||[Mar. 10th, 2009|05:29 pm]
The Independent Film Forum
Another fine addition to the prison film canon or self-indulgent Bafta bid? The next film up for discussion in The Independent Film Forum is Bronson. What did you think of Tom Hardy's performance? Was the portrait of Britain's most notorious prisoner too soft or not sympathetic enough? Air your views in the comments section below and we'll print the best of them in the newspaper next week.
Here's a trailer
Look out for The Independent review on Friday.
This is what Variety had to say about the film:
"Bronson is beautiful - dp Larry Smith does stellar work - and Hardy's performance is outstanding, especially considering he's playing multiple parts: There's the war-painted, hell-raising Bronson who dives lustily into herds of prison 'screws' and nearly beats them down. There's the briefly out-of-prison Bronson who, deprived of his natural habitat, becomes meek, vulnerable and, for a moment, the awkward lover to the faithless Allison (Juliet Oldfield). It's not just that he can't function. He's almost invisible. When Bronson reunites with his Uncle Jack (Hugh Ross), who runs a brothel/salon for cross-dressers, the film starts to flag, because you realize at that point there's been no story: It's all been set-up, atmosphere and character building, without any narrative momentum. But Refn gets back on the bike and starts telling what he means to tell about Bronson, and his art. The director doesn't explain Bronson so much as use him as a mirror for viewers who would probably like to act out against the frustrations of life by putting someone's head through a wall. Bronson is therapeutic and strangely calming, probably because his brand of nonstop fury seems absolutely exhausting."
Responding to our reviewers, here is what some readers wrote:
"I hated everything about this movie...its a pretentious apology for a thug with little actual talent of any kind onscreen."
"For all its arty pretensions, designed to appeal to the morbid voyeurism of a middle-class culturati who have probably never been within ten miles of an actual prison, this is yet another shameful glamorization of the nasty-psychopathic-thug-as-anti-hero.
Why do film-makers persist in indulging in this misguided hero-worship? The people they portray - whether fictional, or, as in this case, based on reality - are not nice people; they are not educated, intelligent, sensitive, funny, caring people you might choose to have as friends; they are, for the most part, ignorant, stupid, callous, sadistic sociopaths whom you would probably run a mile from, and who are behind bars for a very good reason.
We are not stupid; we know these people exist. But do we really need to be reminded of it constantly, by an endless stream of films glorifying their pathological behaviour? And do film-makers consider the harm they might be doing by setting these thugs and nut-jobs up as role models of testosterone-fuelled bravado and strutting machismo for the more deluded and easily-impressed of our urban teenagers to emulate? Have these film-makers not heard of the explosion of gang-related violence, knife and gun crime on our streets?! Do they think that producing films like this is likely to make the teenager boys who watch it (a) less violent or (b) more violent?
To those film-makers I say this: GROW UP! Stop portraying violent criminals as 'cool', and consider the effect that your films have on society, please!"
"As a paper that apparently prides itself on facts I was very surprised to see a very obvious mistake which is far from FACT. Charles Bronson has never killed anyone FACT. Your article is obvious of personal opinion to which everyone is entitled. However I find it very concerning how your opinion is in fact blatant lies. You state the film glorifies his violence however if it showed the violence he has sufferred would have the government and penal system allowed its release?? The film also shows the self rehabilitation that Mr Bronson has done against all odss whilst being locked in a cage where an animal would not be kept. He has wrote over 13 books and sells art for children's charities amnd has done for many many years. This of course would not be allowed to be quoted or known. He is heavily criticised for his past however is never given recognition for his achievements or others. For anyone to be locked up for over 30 years in solitary and remain able to be mentally stable and still write poetry, do art and think of and help others, write books and remain positive is far from the animal the media portray him as. People need to know facts and rely on papers like yourself to print them."
Over to you. Time to have your say...