100 Discs of Christmas #38 – Bronson (2008)

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Michael Peterson a.k.a Bronson (Tom Hardy), was sentenced to 7 years in prison back in 1974 for robbing £26 from a Luton post office and has only seen 69 days of daylight since. Why so serious? You ask, well, behind bars, Bronson made a name for himself as a loose canon,  sticking his middle finger in the face of reform and fighting convicts, guards and more guards. He was also partial to a bit of hostage taking and was moved over 100 times throughout Britain’s prisons and “funny farms” and spent most of that time in solitary confinement.

Drive director Nicholas Winding Refn’s zany biopic charts Bronson’s 34 year and counting stretch through Her Majesty’s Prison Service; chopping and changing from fantasy to reality and back again with Bronson retelling his tales directly to a live audience that exist inside his mind. It’s a deeply unnerving look into the psyche of one of Britain’s most talked about convicts. This is a daunting piece of cinema that mixes ruthless brutality, pertinent photography, bloody strong language and dry humor to make something you won’t forget in a hurry. It’s worth a watch for Hardy’s turn alone.

Bronson (2008), directed by Nicholas Winding Refn, is released on blu-ray and DVD in the UK by Entertainment One, Certificate 18. 

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