...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, September 2, 2011

BRONSON review and The Rum Diary trailer

Happy Friday!

The only bit of booze in today's entry arrives in the form of the newly released trailer for The Rum Diary, adapted from Hunter S. Thompson's novel.

I would pay to see this movie:

If I were to have provided career advice to Johnny Depp back in the '90s, I would have recommended that he focus on playing Hunter's drunken alter-ego and ignore offers to play a drunken pirate.

And that is why I am not a talent agent.

The Rum Diary opens in theaters next month.  Opening this month: Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn; and Warrior, starring Tom Hardy.  Hardy and Refn actually once worked together on BRONSON to which I now awkwardly segue...


92 minutes of untempered unexplained rage.  And in its depiction of this rage, the film is wholly successful.

In the UK in 1974, Michael Peterson was given a seven-year prison sentence for robbing a bank.  Due to his favorite pastime of delivering vicious beatdowns to prison guards, he's been in various British prisons ever since.  In the process, Peterson gave himself the moniker of Charles Bronson (after the late star of the Death Wish fascist wet dream series) and gained considerable notoriety in the UK press for his persistent violence.  The film, BRONSON (2009), is a first-person portrayal of this deeply unhinged individual.

Tom Hardy turns in the most physically intense performance that I have ever seen.  That's not hyperbole.  He spends most of the film howling, screaming, singing, and getting bludgeoned.  And he's naked.  Yes, European naked.  A lot.

While heaps of Hardy penis might be a draw for many of you, keep in mind that while the penis is out, Hardy is bleeding from the skull and screaming, "YOU F***ING C**TS!"  For an hour-and-a-half.

Though there is little doubt of writer-director Nicolas Winding Refn's immense talents, the dialogue is Guy-Ritchie-meets-Coen-Brothers, the violence staging and pop music utilization is Scorsese heavy, and the fantastic fourth-wall-stomping storytelling device vanishes abruptly for almost the entire second half.  His visuals and editing are plentiful though occasionally strain towards quirk.

There's an epic sequence based on an actual prison riot for which the production clearly did not room in the budget.  Refn's bargain depiction is brilliant, complete with singing, face paint, and real life footage.  He also works wonders in tandem with Hardy, creating a stunning performance -- which clearly won over Christopher Nolan's heart -- so one can't complain about Refn's actor-direction.

So is it good?  It's effective.  (I wanted to smash something after it was over.)  Because Bronson/Peterson purposely remains a mystery, there's no character arc.  When he gets his Bronson moniker, we see that there's no profound explanation behind it.  Similarly, there's no profound meaning behind the man's rage.  It's just there: an extreme depiction of the volcanic force inside us all.  And the film hangs it out there for us see, every inch.

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