Nicolas Winding Refn (2008)

18 Certificate


Our Score
This eccentric and often unsavoury biopic charts the rise to infamy of a small-time Luton crook who changed his name and bulked his frame in the mid-1980s to become Britain's most violent and feared prisoner. Tom Hardy gives a stunning performance as moustached reprobate Charles Bronson, who has spent two-thirds of his life in jail, and most of that in solitary confinement. As there's little in the way of biographical fact to contend with, director Nicolas Winding Refn attempts instead to poke around in his subject's psyche. Scenes from Bronson's life are presented as hallucinatory, stylised episodes that owe a great debt to Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, not just in their look but also through their jarring use of classical music. The violence may be too extreme and message too non-judgemental for mainstream viewers, but Hardy does an admirable job of making this monster human, which he achieves with surprising wit and a visceral, attention-grabbing passion.


Biopic of convict Charles Bronson, who was sent to prison for seven years after a failed armed robbery, only for his sentence to be increased to more than 30 years due to an escalating series of incidents, ultimately earning him tabloid celebrity as the most violent prisoner in Britain. Starring Tom Hardy, Hugh Ross and Juliet Oldfield.

Cast & Crew

Charles Bronson / Michael Peterson Tom Hardy
Paul Daniels Matt King
Nurse Terry Stone
Charlie's mum Amanda Burton
Uncle Jack Hugh Ross
Irene Kelly Adams
Brian Edward Bennett-Coles
John White Joe Tucker
Phil James Lance
Prison governor Jonathan Phillips
Alison Juliet Oldfield
Director Nicolas Winding Refn
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Vertigo FilmsAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 4 Sep 2015