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Product Overview

A young man who was sentenced to 7 years on prison for robbing a post office ends up spending 30 years in solitary confinement. During this time, his own personality is supplanted by his alter ego, charles bronson.


Studio Magnolia Pict Hm Ent
SKU 213262051
UPC 876964002752
UPC 14 00876964002752
Format DVD
Release Date 10/21/2014
Rating Rating
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  1.85:1
ReviewSource The Onion A.V. Club
Review Michael Gordon Peterson -- dubbed "Charles Bronson" by a bare-knuckle boxing promoter -- was arrested in 1974 at age 22, and sentenced to seven years in prison for armed robbery. Since then, he's spent all but four years of his life behind bars, both for crimes committed on the outside and for violence perpetrated on the inside. For his movie Bronson, director Nicolas Winding Refn turns Petersen's life story into a pensive, Kubrickian study of anti-social behavior. From an opening sequence that has a naked, greased-up Tom Hardy (as Petersen) punching at a cage in slow-motion while The Walker Brothers' art-pop classic "The Electrician" blares on the soundtrack, Bronson makes kicking ass -- and waiting to kick ass -- into an aesthetic all its own...Here's all Bronson is, really: It's the bald, mustachioed, sturdily built Hardy raging like a bull, embodying a man who needs little provocation to beat the living crap out of guards, fellow prisoners, passersby... anybody. And then it's him sitting utterly still, frightening everyone around with the potential for grievous bodily harm. In between all that, Hardy delivers an often-hilarious running monologue, explaining Petersen's quest for a curious kind of stardom. The "doing crime for fame" theme is more than a little played-out, but Hardy's so boisterous -- and Refn's filmmaking so dynamic -- that it's fairly easy to buy in to the inherent entertainment value of bloody fisticuffs...There are times during Bronson when it's unclear what Refn is going for, and times when the movie seems like a derivative, extra-pretentious version of A Clockwork Orange. For long stretches of Bronson, nothing much happens -- and what does happen is, well, odd. (Our anti-hero is big on theatrical displays of brutality, involving body paint.) But by the end of the movie, it becomes clearer how Refn uses stillness and nothingness to keep the audience tense and anxious. There are two Bronsons on display here: the impossible thug that we don't dare release into polite society, and the guy we enjoy watching do his terrible thing. The man and the movie are both living, punching contradictions.
Reviewer Noel Murray
ReviewRating 8
ReviewSource The New York Times
Review Nicolas Winding Refn's Bronson is a highly stylized and embellished film biography of a man known as the most famous prisoner in Britain. Born Michael Peterson in 1952 and raised mostly in the city of Luton, Charles Bronson, renamed after the American movie star, has spent all but a few months of the last 35 years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement...The film, dominated by the bald, snarling and oddly charming presence of Tom Hardy in the title role, is not interested in sociological or psychological explanations. Bronson's parents are quiet, respectable lower-middle-class types, fond of their son even as he finds himself in all kinds of trouble, and he seems to suffer neither deprivation nor childhood trauma. The propensity to do violence seems wired into him, less a pathology than a kind of talent. He does some stealing, but his real vocation, his art, is fighting...At one point a warden seeks to understand this incorrigible inmate's propensity for "nihilistic and godless behavior" and asks Bronson, who has developed a habit of taking hostages in his cell, what he wants from the authorities. The answer is an Anglo-Saxon imperative that pretty much sums up Bronson's worldview...And it is an attitude Mr. Refn, whose previous films include the vivid and vicious "Pusher" trilogy, presents with unnerving relish and flair. Sometimes Bronson speaks directly to the camera in front of a black background. At other times he appears in black tie and music-hall makeup in front of a theater full of appreciative patrons. His monologues are punctuated by exquisitely choreographed and art-directed scenes of brutality, shot from low angles and accompanied by soaring arias or throbbing techno beats...The effect is a bit like Stanley Kubrick's Clockwork Orange reimagined as a one-man stage show and stripped of any political implications. Bronson's crimes become a kind of performance art, and the film becomes, bizarrely enough, the portrait of a genius misunderstood and marginalized by a bureaucratic and hypocritical social order...Bronson invites you to admire its protagonist as a pure, muscular embodiment of anarchy. And perhaps you will, but you may also be glad that he's still behind bars.
Reviewer A. O. Scott
ReviewRating 9
DVD, Widescreen, Spanish, Subtitled
Product Attributes
Video Format DVD
A.O. Scott, The New York Times Bronson invites you to admire its protagonist as a pure, muscular embodiment of anarchy. And perhaps you will, but you may also be glad that he's still behind bars.
Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times ...Tom Hardy chomps down on his once-in-a-career role with stunning ferocity and never lets go. He's extraordinary.
Andrew O'Hehir, Bronson owes a little or a lot to Kubrick's Clockwork Orange, but if that's a crime I wish more people would commit it.

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