October 28, 2009


October 28, 2009

Pictured on the right: Tom Hardy as

Courtesy: Magnolia pictures

October 27, 2009


BRONSON the movie that opens on Friday, Oct. 30 at the Lumiere Theater certainly will frighten, repel and fascinate.

BASED ON A TRUE STORY: It was 1974 when a hotheaded and crazy guy (Michael Peterson) wants to make a name for himself. He is a 19 year old at the time. To get the attention that he pines for, he takes a homemade sawn-off shotgun and robs a post office. He did make a name for himself and landed in prison for a 7-year term.

However the young man (played by Tom Hardy) keeps getting into trouble, even while he is in prison. He does terrible brutal things to other prisoners – even to people that work at the Prison, who try to help him. Without any indication, all of a sudden he will try torture or kill any living thing near him. He is known to be England’s most violent prisoner – and also England’s longest prisoner in continual custody. Most of the time in prison, 30 years were spent in solitary confinement. And much of that is in the nude. Yes – Michael Peterson was proud of his muscular body.

As sadistic as he is he seemed to revel in hurting people. He remembers the movie “Death Wish” that starred Charles Bronson. Someone tells him that he should change his name to Charles Bronson – since he has a Death Wish. And so he did. He became (in his mind) a superstar. He became Charles Bronson. The more hideous and outrageous things that he did only gave him more press and more notoriety.

Yep, he spent a total of 34 years in prison. Four of those he was more or less free to associate with other prisoners. But, he couldn’t wait to strangle, choke and stuff things in their mouth and confine them with duct tape – so that he could torture them. In Art Class, he did this to the instructor and even put white paint in the instructor’s eyes. The prison attendants couldn’t get to him, because he had locked the door from the inside.

Artistically, this is an extremely thrilling film. Also, it is very, very violent and may shock you beyond belief. In an way the film is beautiful to look at – even the violent scenes are artistic.

Denmark native Nicolas Winding Refn’s is known for pushing boundaries with over the edge grit. Well, they can’t get any grittier than “Bronson”. I would say – “It is shocking – but mesmerizing!”

Bronson is everything to keep you on the edge of your seat. It is Riveting - Gripping seismic drama! And exciting! The film photography is jaw dropping. Looking for High Voltage? Well, this is it. I may see it again with a friend – just so I can watch him squirm. Tom Hardy (Michael Person/Charles Bronson) will be in huge demand for other films. He gives one of the most engrossing powerful performances I’ve seen this year.

RATING: FOUR BOXES OF POPCORN!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked-


(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))

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