When you mention the name Charles Bronson to most people around the world usually, the first person that will come to their minds is the actor of the movie Deathwish. To most British people, the name is synonymous with the most violent person held within Her Majesty's Prison system. Most movies like this, I will turn away from in an instant as when it comes to biopics and books alike, I generally like them to be about people of importance who have achieved something of worth. Bronson is a fascinating character to me as, although he obtained his country wide recognition through his violence actions, he has proven himself to be an articulate and artistic human being with his books and poetry. However, it's hard to ignore his violent past and that's certainly the primary focus of this movie. I was hoping for a bit more focus in the progression of his artistic side, but we were given merely a glimpse.
The story of the film gives a very brief look at Bronson's youth before prison, pointing out that even as a youngster he had a violent side. Fast forward a couple of years and he holds up a post office for mere change and lands himself a prison sentence of 7 years, for which he would have probably just served 4. Unfortunately, Bronson took to prison and found it an exciting surrounding and saw his fists as a way of gaining recognition, which he surely did. We then are given a brief look at his time in a mental health institute and also an even briefer glimpse at the Broadmoor protest. The film also shows a number of other events of Bronson's life, including his short release from prison and the hostage takings.
I'm really on both sides of the scale when it comes to my perception of this movie. On the one side, the artistic vision of director, Nicolas Winding Refn makes this film beautiful and fascinating to watch and the stunning performance by Thomas Hardy makes it even more so. On the other side, the film was quite shallow and seemed to focus too much on his violent exploits and painted the picture of him being this eccentric weirdo with an extremely short fuse. The majority of the film takes on a monologue style of story telling in which Bronson is on a stage, telling or performing his life story to an audience but will cut to the scenes being told to the audience and go from there. It's certainly not something you see everyday and certainly made the film enjoyable in its own right.
The acting of Tom Hardy in this as Bronson was truly superb throughout. He seemed to become entirely engrossed in the bizarre personality of Bronson that, insane eccentricities aside was an extremely realistic character. Some of the mannerisms displayed by the character are quite comical but also frightening. I can honestly say this isn't one of the best films in the world, but it's certainly worth the watch, even if you're not a fan of biopics in general. I would recommend it to almost anyone just looking to kill an hour and a half or, of course, those who hold an interest in Bronson the man.