Wednesday, August 3, 2011

365 Movies Day #128 "Bronson"

It's been a bit since we talked about Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn. His last film to hit the blog was "VALHALLA RISING". "Bronson" is more proof that Refn may be one of the most innovative narrative director's around. His storytelling is way outside the box. It's not weird in a Lynch sort of way. It's just so unlike anything else out there.

"Bronson" is the story of real life British inmate Michael Peterson, who, in trying to create a bigger persona for himself takes the name of Charles Bronson (who's tougher than Harmonica or Paul Kersey?). What makes the film interesting is the way the story is told which is partly to do with the writing (done partly by Refn), partly with the outstanding choices in direction and partly with the phenomenal performance of Tom Hardy. Now before I go into any more detail on Rafn's directing let me digress into Hardy.

Hardy got his start on "Band of Brothers" and like so many other talented young male actors these days is a veteran of "Black Hawk Down". I mean the cast from that film includes blog vets like William Fitchner, Kim Coates and Johnny Strong (plus my "Transformers" brother-in-arms Glenn Morshower and talents like Orlando Bloom, Hugh Dancy, Jeremy Piven, Sam Shepherd, Eric Bana, Ewan McGregor, Josh Hartnett, Tom Sizemore and Ioan Gruffudd). Fast forward a few years and Hardy is on board one of my favorite Guy Ritchie flicks, "Rock N Rolla". He did "Bronson" in 2008. Then he semi-exploded in "Inception" as the debonaire and enjoyable Eames. Now he's going to be going head to head with Batman in Nolan's last installment of the series and looks to be the front-runner to play the title role in the Mad Max remake.

Anyone worried about Bane in the new Batman flick can rest assured that with Hardy on board it will be remarkable.

So, how is this story so amazing. Well first of all it's true. But heck, So was "MESRINE". Secondly, it's a near constant breech of the fourth wall where Bronson tells us his story directly in between dramatizations of the events. It's really this (and the way his presentations are made) that make the film so revolutionary. Breaking the fourth wall is usually reserved for Shakespeare and comedies. It's amazing to see it so effectively built into a film that is so intense and it's use conveying such a powerful feeling of madness. Add in a remarkable yet primarily undiscovered cast headed by Hardy and supported by folks like Gordon Brown (Hagen from "Valhalla Rising") and Matt King (who worked with Hardy on "Rock N Rolla").

It's hard to explain how refreshing it is without having you see the film. You can pick up some of it in the trailer, but you should definitely watch this and "VALHALLA RISING" and you'll be an instant Refn fan!


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