Meet Charles Bronson. No, not the star of Death Wish or Once Upon a Time in the West, but Charles Bronson the prisoner, who’s spent over three decades in prison (most of it in solitary confinement) and is the subject in the fascinating, funny and inventive biopic Bronson (available on DVD 2/7).
Born Michael Gordon Peterson (played with sharp ferocity by Tom Hardy), he starts running afoul of the law with schoolboy fights and escalates to robbing a post office as a young man. It is behind bars that Charlie Bronson (he is renamed by a fight promoter) truly begins to thrive—and it’s there that he becomes the celebrity he always wanted to be, as “Britain’s most violent prisoner.” And we mean violent! But the film always retains a sly humor, and thanks to director Nicolas Winding Refn’s creative vision, it is a surreal and unsettling movie experience.
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