07 March 2009

Bronson released 13 March

I read a book about legendary nutter Charles Bronson many years ago and always felt it would make a great bio-pic. Well, here it is! And it's good. 

Michael Peterson, better known as Charles Bronson (named after the Death Wish actor for want of a fighting name) has the dubious honour of being known alternately as Britain's 'most notorious prisoner' and 'Britain's most dangerous prisoner'. A fascinatingly complex and self-destructive figure, he has spent most of his life behind bars. Prison gave him the recognition he craved; earning a reputation for insane random acts of violence and a punishing exercise routine.

This grimly humourous and often surreal drama takes us through the pivotal moments of Bronson's (a buffed up Tom Hardy; RocknRolla) life, including hold-ups, prize-fights and dancing to the Pet Shop Boys in a mental hospital. No punches - or kicks, or choke-holds - are pulled along the way.

However, despite Bronson's commitment to ultra-realistic violence (the predictable outcry about glorification can already be heard), the second act of the film concentrates on the man's idiosyncratic artistic ability; developed through prison classes and encouraged by James Lance's (I'm Alan Partridge, Teachers) entertainingly camp teacher. Bronson's twin passions of art and violence culminate in an extraordinary climax, which will surely be one of the most talked about in a British movie this year. 

Essentially an English take on Aussie crime classic Chopper, a similarly cult audience is assured.