The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Magnolia Pictures - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 92 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Tom Hardy, Matt King, Kelly Adams, Katy Barker
Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn
Music by: Various
Written by: Brock Norman Brock, Nicolas Winding Refn
Region Code: Free
Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 9, 2010
"The Man. The Myth. The Celebrity."
In 1974, a misguided 19 year old named Michael Peterson decided he wanted to make a name for himself and so, with a homemade sawn-off shotgun and a head full of dreams he attempted to rob a post office. Swiftly apprehended and originally sentenced to 7 years in jail, Peterson has subsequently been behind bars for 34 years, 30 of which have been spent in solitary confinement.
He is considered the United Kingdom’s most violent prisoner. Charles "Charlie" Bronson (born Michael Gordon Peterson) was imprisoned for 7 years for armed robbery…. that became a life sentence spent mostly in solitary confinement. He wrote a few books, made some very twisted art, been married twice and taken hostages numerous times as well as had a bio-pic (Bronson) made after his life's story; impressive for a man who has spent most his life in prison. He said he wanted to be a celebrity. Don’t get me wrong, he is a violent, uncontrollable, irrational absolute nut job who doesn’t deserve any of the attention he is getting, but it made for an interesting movie and a showcase for new talent, Tom Hardy, who's performance as Charlie Bronson deserves at least a nod from Oscar. Hardy gives monologues on a theatre stage throughout the film as Mr. Bronson. This is symbolic of him talking to the imaginary world around him as he is in solitary confinement. It is very effective and really shows off Tom Hardy’s acting skills. What I initially thought was missing was any rhyme or reason to his actions. In retrospect, is actually the film's strongest asset - the film not having a main conflict or a resolution. It adds to the sense of complete lack of reason for any of his actions. He randomly erupts into violent fighting frenzies with a handful of guards for no reason at all. He will take a friend hostage and mentally twist both of them until a breaking point. Having no conflict or resolution is exactly why Charlie Bronson’s actions are so insane. He was let out of prison in his early years for a short stint. He got into bareknuckle boxing, fell in love and ended up back in jail for stealing an engagement ring, all in 68 days as a free man. During that time he was given the name of Charles Bronson, to sound better as a boxing name. ‘Bronson’ is a strange, fast paced film that somehow kept me interested, even with its lack of a real “story”. Tom Hardy’s stand-out performance and Nicolas Winding Refn stylish directing are without a doubt why this film succeeds. Billed as “A Clockwork Orange for the 21st Century”, ‘Bronson’ is not in that league at all. However, it is an interesting and thought provoking film that kept me thinking after the credits rolled.
Rated R for violent and disturbing content, graphic nudity, sexuality and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Bronson comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33.2 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 mbps.
One would not buy the ‘Bronson’ Blu-ray for its video quality. It is slightly soft, with grayish blacks and some washed out whites. I assume it was filmed this way with some artistic intent, but to me it backfired. The ‘Bronson’ video quality is a bit uneven. There are instances of heavy grain and times where it seemed to clear up and look pretty nice. The color pallet matched the feel of the film, it was slightly under-saturated with moments of vivid colorful pop. The natural flesh-tones kept it all grounded. The DTS-HD Master Audio track was decent, with no glaring issues. The effect channels were used with taste, filling the room with real life ambiance. The LFE never had much heavy lifting but when the 80's soundtrack dynamically kicked in, there was plenty of bass for anyone's taste. I found no problems following dialogue, even with heavy British accents and felt this was a proper mix for the material. ‘Bronson’ has a slight lo-fi presentation but perhaps that is what they were going for.
- Charles Bronson Monologues
- Behind the Scenes Footage
- Training Tom Hardy
- Making of Bronson
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
An interesting look into a tripped out mind, but not quite “A Clockwork Orange for the 21st Century”, ‘Bronson’ is an interesting ride. This movie is not for everyone, but those who crave a different experience besides the same old big budget blockbuster will find themselves captivated. Magnolia's Blu-ray has a better than average supplement package (but all in SD) and decent technical specs. Combine that with Tom Hardy's amazing performance and ‘Bronson’ comes easily recommended.
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Reference Review System:
Anthem LTX 500 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Prismasonic HE1500R Anamorphic Lens
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC07 Receiver
Pioneer BDP-320 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer