#499 – Bronson


DIRECTED BY: Nicolas Winding Refn

STARRING: Tom Hardy, Kelly Adams, Katy Barker and Matt King

FAVE QUOTE:How would you feel, waking up in the morning without a window? My window is a steel grid, I ‘ave to put my lips against that steel grid and suck in air, that’s my morning… ’cause I got no air in my cell. I have to eat, sleep and crap in that room twenty-three hours of a twenty-four hour day. You tell me, what human being deserves that? Apart from the stinking paedophile or a child killer. I don’t deserve that, I done nothing on this planet to deserve that.” – Charles Bronson

FAVE MOMENT: Bronson, completely naked, getting the police officer to rub stuff on him as he awaits the guards coming in to kick his ass.



In 1974, a hot-headed 19 year old named Michael Peterson decided he wanted to make a name for himself and so, with a homemade sawn-off shotgun and a head full of dreams he attempted to rob a post office. Swiftly apprehended and originally sentenced to 7 years in jail, Peterson has subsequently been behind bars for 34 years, 30 of which have been spent in solitary confinement. During that time, Michael Petersen, the boy, faded away and ‘Charles Bronson,’ his superstar alter ego, took center stage. Inside the mind of Bronson – a scathing indictment of celebrity culture.


At number 499 is Bronson, a film protraying the life of Michael Peterson aka Charles Bronson. Tom Hardy plays the man in question in a film that is not stuck to one genre, and also crossing between a theatre play and a biopic as a Clockwork Orange for the new generation.

As Bronson is sent to serve time in jail for robbing a Post Office, he finally comes into his own and takes on his new calling in life…violence. As we go through the life and times of Bronson (sometimes telling the story on his own on a stage to a crowd) from being in a mad house (which produces one uncomfortable scene), to bare knuckle fighting underground to spending the majority of his life in prison without killing a single person.

The film itself would have failed massively, in my opinion, if it weren’t for Tom Hardy in the lead role who transforms into Bronson and beefed up quite a bit for the role. The film may be too ‘arthousey’ for some given Refn’s style of filmmaking but it is for me a good (but not amazing) film, it’s an interesting take on Michael Peterson and why he ended up as one of the most notorious prisoners in England. Soundtrack is also killer.


~ by Irish Cinephile on October 21, 2011.

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