June 5th: Mr Majestic


122. Bronson (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2009)

You would be forgiven for thinking that this is a film for Danny Dyer fans. You know one, we all do. They don’t manage whole sentences particularly well, they struggle with concepts like ‘art’, intelligence and not getting smashed on Stella every Friday and Saturday and they also think that films about sport associated violence are what our indigenous cinema should be all about. You might think that Bronson would have something in common with this crop of films. But you’d be wrong. Danish film-maker Nicolas Winding Refn is, on this evidence, a film-maker to watch. He’s taken a story which isn’t especially interesting and made something fascinating from it. The title character, Charles Bronson, is a violent criminal and regarded as one of Britain’s most dangerous prisoners. His story isn’t particularly cinematic he goes to prison for armed robbery and aside from one short period of release – that’s where he stays. Refn uses an inventive method of presenting the story as if Bronson’s life is partially a play, a story through which he can achieve the fame and notoriety. It is filmed with patience, elegance and a sense of composition that is all too rare in our cross-cut frenzied times. In short, this is a film you shouldn’t judge by the poster.

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