Wednesday, 4 November 2009


Dir: Nicolas Winding Refn (The Pusher Trilogy, Valhalla Rising)
Cast: Tom Hardy, Matt King
UK, 2009

Seen: November 2, 2009 at AMC Yonge & Dundas

Reason to see: I'll see anything by Nicolas Winding Refn

Knowing little about the film upon going in, I admit I was curious as to why this particular subject matter was chosen. What is the inspiration to do a biopic on a man in prison who supplanted his own personality with that of Charles Bronson and has the goal of reaching fame through becoming known for being violent. I'll tell you one thing I wasn't expecting to see - a film heavily influenced by theatre with a strong performative nature. Leave it to Nicolas Winding Refn to surprize us, yet again.

The film has a unique feel right from the get go using straight to the camera monologues is intercut with regular narrative as well as almost dreamlike sequences. This works surprizingly well to capture the bizarre character and journey of the self titled Charlie Bronson. We are seeing what he wants us to see. Hearing the story that he wants to tell us. Sometimes that looks like reality, and other times... not so much. Reality or not, it always hones in on his desire and need for fame. This driving force literally and violently obliterates anything in it's way or perhaps obliterates it so that it can pave the way to becoming famous.

The unusual storytelling style guarantees that it is an memorable viewing experience but the phenomenal performance by Tom Hardy is what escalates it to a compelling and fantastic film. I've only seen his previous work in Star Trek: Nemesis as the character Praetor Shinzon, and it was initially hard to believe I was seeing the same person considering the huge physical transformation. Quite a feat, and once the fists start flying it wasn't hard to see the embodiment and fierceness of the character. A challenging role considering there is not only a huge amount of brutal physicality in the film but also a lot of dialogue that comes straight from him to us, the audience and often in the form of a story. Slightly distant, never apologetic and always bizarre what we hear and see always shows sincerity and utter determination. A paradox of thoughts, ideas and images keep us attentive, curious and waiting for more. Fantastic

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it people interested in performative and/or art house film, who can also take the high level of violence

4 minutes of preshow including 1 commercial and 2 previews: The Crazies and The Road

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© Shannon Ridler, 2009



Univarn said...

I liked this movie, I didn't really love it. I felt like it had a lot of great parts that weren't tied together real well. Hardy definitely held it all together, would like to see him work in with an oscar nomination, or even some consideration, but not sure the production company is going to fork over the money for the effort.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Because of the harshness, it's a hard movie to walk away loving. There was one moment where I thought the flow was a little off but other than that I was captivated the whole way.

Agree with you that would be awesome for Hardy to get Oscar nom, or at the very least a BAFTA nom. Will be interesting to see how things go!

Bishop said...

Hey Shannon,
BWE and I watched this last night and I am firmly entrenched in the Tom Hardy camp right now. I recall when he first exploded in the role in Star Trek: Nemesis that people said he would be a force to be reckoned with and although this cat has not been a superstar, what he has been is consistently EXCELLENT in everything he does. I need to check out Stuart next but it would be great to see more of Hardy flexing his chops. Great ability and great presence.

As a matter of fact let's put him and Ben Foster together in something.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Yay Bishop! So happy to have more company in the Tom Hardy camp - he's totally one to watch, not only for everything he's already in but in the future as well (can't wait for Mad Max redux with him!)

Consistently excellent is a perfect way to describe him!

Wow. Him and Ben Foster - the idea alone is enough to get me behind that possibility! Great thinking!

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