2008 Clockwork Orange for the 21st Century
Rating: 17/20 (Kent: 16/20)
Plot: Based on the story of Michael Peterson, England's most notorious and violent prisoner. At nineteen, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for armed robbery, and because of violent behavior in prison, his way of "making a name for himself," he's spent more than thirty years in prisons and asylums, most of them in solitary confinement. He is not a good role model.
Watched this with good buddy and blog reader Kent about a month ago. I had to do a search for the cliche "tour de force" on my own blog to make sure I haven't overused that phrase. Using cliches is bad enough, but when you overuse them? Well, make no bones about it, I know there's more than one way to skin a cat (proverbially) and that it's a good rule of thumb not to use cliches as a writer, and I'm not trying to toot my own horn or anything, but the day I start using cliches is the day pigs fly. I've used the words "tour de force" twice in the previous three-and-a-half years I've done this blog--once for Vincent Price in Theater of Blood and once to describe the performance of a camel. So although I don't really want to use the words again, I can't think of a performance where it's more appropriate than with Tom Hardy's here. Kent tells me that Hardy, for all you Nolan Batman movie fans, is going to be a Mexican wrestler in the next movie. I also noticed that he's going to be the titular character in a Mad Max movie that supposed to come out in 2012. I guess Mel Gibson is either too old, too crazy, too busy talking to a beaver puppet, or a combination of those. This Bronson performance is powerful stuff. He's witty, frightening, hilarious, completely unhinged, tragic, overly-theatrical, deeply human. For the most part, the script calls for a playfulness with this really violent persona, and Hardy plays him with just the right amount of bravado. It's that type of performance where you worry about the actor a little bit, wondering if he's every going to be able to come back down and be normal again. He's in (perhaps literally) every single second of this movie, and he hoists the production on his back and carries it like a fiend. Terrific stuff. The movie itself is flashy and gritty, and it really does remind me of A Clockwork Orange just like the quote on the poster says. You've got theatrics, classical music, ultra-violence, very dark comedy. And that aforementioned playfulness. This movie never takes the tragic tale of Peterson seriously while managing at the same time to say a little something serious about society and what we expect from our celebrities. There's even some animation thrown in. Bronson's also endlessly entertaining, one of those movies I felt like I could have immediately watched again. Probably not Kent though. He actually fell asleep. It was his third or fourth viewing of this monster though.
Shane-movies trivia: I think this movie might be responsible for a sebaceous cyst on my back exploding and leaking a smelly yellow pus all over the place. I can't prove it, but that is the type of movie this is.