The problem with a lot of movies that are based on a true story is that they are genuinely terrible. Sure, films like "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer", "Monster" and several others have made it work, but then there are films like "B.T.K.", several Ulli Lommel disasters, and crap like "Bundy" polluting DVD shelves across America. I guess that's why I'm so grateful for Nicolas Winding Refn's (The "Pusher" trilogy) creative bio-pic "Bronson", which while not a horror film, is an original portrait of a man you wouldn't like to know.
Michael Peterson (Tom Hardy) didn't have a rough life. He was raised by a pair of well-to-do parents, suffered no traumas or abuse, and had a decent upbringing. Sure, he was prone to violent outbursts, but other than that, he was fine. Well, he's sentenced to 7 years after trying to rob a bank-which becomes 30 years in solitary confinement due to being prone to beating guards to death and having a hostage every now and then. This is all told through his alter ego, known as "Charles Bronson."
"Bronson" is interesting in particular due to how different it is. Instead of offering the doldrums of his life or weighing in on morality and messages, it uses a rather experimental and almost non-traditional take on his life via monologues to an "audience", animation and plenty of other techniques. It also helps considerably that it avoids the sensationalism that these types of movies tend to fall into. Best of all is Hardy, who is a revelation as "Bronson." He's charismatic, charming, and scary all at once. He's a fascinating anti-hero of sorts-not the least bit sympathetic at all, but managing to paint a portrait of an intelligent man who just happens to have a thing for violence.
If it does fall through any problems, it's that it at times feels a bit too much like another British indie flick. It offers so many fascinating artistic choices, but at times, when it tries to settle down a little, it loses a little bit of steam, and almost feels conventional-though it thankfully offers not a whole lot of that, and allows business to pick up soon afterward.
Is "Bronson" a perfect movie? No, but it makes for an impressive film from a talented director and an actor who delivers a knock out performance. See it if you have the chance.