After the (Y) machine took a festive break, the wheels are again starting to turn. To ring in the New Year, I’m going to be telling you about each of my ten favourite movies. it’s been harder than expected to elucidate my feelings on these films, usually “just watch the damn thing” is more effective than a series of ridiculous superlatives, but here goes. I hope you enjoy!
Like with The Big Lebowski, Bronson ranks as one of my favourite films by the virtue of being what I consider to be the best film of a filmmaker I admire very highly. It was the first Nicolas Winding Refn picture I had seen and it was years prior to the Drive explosion but I was instantly taken aback. In the ensuing years, watching this filmmaker come into prominence and learning more about him and his abilities, I have only become more and more endeared to Bronson.
It’s uneven in tone and far from perfect but it’s cinematically onomatopoeic (if that makes sense) to it’s main character, the astonishingly unhinged Charlie Bronson née Michael Peterson. Through Tom Hardy’s committed, comedic, balletic performance the audience into routing for and loving one of Britain’ most notorious criminals.
It’s in Hardy’s breakout (and yet to be matched) performance that anchors this film as he journeys through surreal experience after surreal experience all tapped through Winding Refn’s severe stylisations. Bronson presents the story as a framing device in a sort of theatre performance, dressing in drag, dancing about and shouting at his audience. It’s bizarre, intelligent and gripping. A framing device as innovative as it’s inventor.
What solidifies this as a favourite film is that it’s not just a brilliant, bewildering, violent, hilarious movie but it’s an independent, brilliant, bewildering, violent, hilarious movie from the very country from which I hail. That can only be a good omen, right?
– Oliver Drew