Monday 13 April 2009

Violent Films Double Bill: Let the Right One In and Bronson

I don't usually make a point of watching violent films but these two caught my attention and I just needed to renew our Showroom membership to see them... I'm glad I did because they were both really good!

First was 'Let the Right One In', a Swedish film about a 12 year-old boy, Oskar, who is bullied at school and finds a very unusual friend. Oskar's world is a cold one, both in the constantly falling snow, and in the treatment from his abusive schoolmates. Eli, the girl who moves into the flat next door is also cold, but in a different way. These two loners soon become close friends and we start to learn Eli's secrets, including the fact that she isn't really a girl...

What I particularly liked about this film was how the relationship between the two teenagers developed and endured the strangeness of the situation they found themselves in. This is essentially a love story, albeit punctuated by some very gory and disturbing moments, and it's the love story that I remember most.

The second film, Bronson, although violent, was quite different. A British film, this gives the life story of Michael Peterson, or better known by his 'fighting name' Charlie Bronson, a Luton man of whose 34 years in prison, 30 have been spent in solitary confinement. Charlie is a man beyond comprehension and almost beyond containment.

The film portrays him as a man addicted to violence for violence's sake. From school violence he progresses to serious crime, in the form of armed robbery in 1974 for which he received 7 years, however because of his behaviour and the prison authorities' inability to understand and contain him, he is still in imprisoned in solitary. Tom Hardy plays Bronson brilliantly, at times deeply menacing, then gleeful and fun-loving, but always intense. Hardy also put on 3 stone in muscle for the role, an impressive feat indeed. This was a fantastic portrayal of a complex man who was likely to have been deeply mentally disturbed and the way the prison system influenced his behaviour.


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