Wednesday, October 28, 2009



Bronson Fame has become such a hot commodity for some people that they are willing to go extra miles to be in the spot light. Remember the hoax about the 6-year-old boy flying away in a balloon a few weeks ago? However, how to explain the phenomenon if the fame does not involved appearing in talk shows but staying in a prison cell? That famed person is Charles Bronson, the most famous and violent prisoner in Britain.

Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn's operatic film "Bronson" (UK 2008 | 92 min.) might not provide answers to the question why Bronson behaves so violently through out his life, but it certainly presents a truly fascinating and deeply troubled individual, brilliantly (not British usage for this word) played by Tom Hardy.

The film begins with Bronson's fights with classmates at school. Before the "Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves" finishes playing in the background, Bronson grows up into a young man (Tom Hardy) and is sentenced to seven years in prison for armed robbery of only £26.18 at a post office. His forgiving mother comforts him: "Don't worry son, you'll be out in four." That's not quite the way it turns out. After almost 35 years and a few hostage taking episodes in prison, Bronson is still in prison up to this moment, mostly in solitary confinement. In between jail cells, he is only freed twice, for 68 days and 53 days respectively, before being sent back to jail. In most scenes in the film, he is extremely violent and fighting with anybody in his sight. During rest of the time, he makes art. Who exactly is Bronson? What's in his head that makes him acts violently and peculiarly?

Nobody seems to know.

Tom Hardy in BRONSON, a Magnet Release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing

For any sane mind, certainly fame is not a plausible motivation for Bronson's behavior, although he has certainly achieved that status. Bronson has a personality that his body is too small to hold, and he must explode whenever he is with another human being. Perhaps that is also his unique way to express himself and his art.

You might have different interpretations about Bronson, but everyone can certainly agreen on one thing—you are fortunate to learn about him through a film, not in person. And, he indeed is somebody that you cannot forget easily.

"Bronson" opens on Friday, Oct 30, 2009 at Bay Area theaters.

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