I have been following Tom Hardy's career since I discovered him in RocknRolla. When I found out about a special screening of his film Bronson I was excited and had to go! I went with my friend Marcy who is also a huge fan of Tom's, probably more than me, and we had a fantastic time.
We arrived at the Cinefamily theater early to get good seats. Good thing we did, the theater was very small. We were told the first two rows, couches, were reserved for VIP guests. The movie started late, but I had the opportunity to catch up with Marcy. In the middle of our conversation the seats filled up in front of us. Wearing a ball cap Leonardo Di Caprio sits down in front of Marcy and beside him Tobey Maguire. There were a few more actors, we found out later, besides Leo and Tobey, but we were so excited to see Tom Hardy we hardly noticed them.
Later Marcy and I emailed back and forth with our girlfriends, discussing the movie and our wonderful night. Marcy wrote such a wonderful review that I asked if I could post it.
Marcy's Review of Bronson:
I absolutely loved the movie!! I fully expect it to end up a cult classic. It is very violent, although in this case, that violence is an integral part of what the movie is about. There is considerable nudity, including full-frontal in the movie, but in this case, the nudity is essential. The movie would not have the raw, visceral power it has without it. The movie itself, is highly stylized and very inventive. It's also very hard to describe!
Here's the IMDB plot summary:
In 1974, a hot-headed 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. During that time, Michael Petersen, the boy, faded away and 'Charles Bronson', his superstar alter ego, took center stage. Inside the mind of Bronson - a scathing indictment of celebrity culture.
But that doesn't even begin to cover it. It is about sooooo much more than that, including some very interesting ideas about the intersection of violence and art. Although the way we view all movies is affected by the personal experiences we bring to them, I think that is particularly true of "Bronson." For me, personally, the movie raised some intriguing questions about how we, as a society, define 'mental illness,' and how we feel about those who are labeled as such. At the reception afterward, we had the most interesting discussions about it, including with Tom!!
Tom gives an absolutely bravura performance! If there were any justice, he would certainly be under consideration for an Oscar. Actors are going to be talking about this one for years. But the little independent films that sometimes sneak through are usually of the warm and fuzzy variety, and this certainly isn't that.
A couple of things happened at the screening that must have made Tom feel great. First, when the credits were rolling and his name came up, the place just went nuts, screaming and applauding. And second, when Tom was brought up front for the Q&A and introduced, several people stood applauding, and the first one up was Leo DiCaprio! It was such a nice nod to Tom from another truly talented actor. Very cool of Leo!! And richly deserved!
We didn't know it when we went, but there was a very nice reception afterward on the little patio behind the theater. The director, Nicolas Winding Refn, is Danish, and there was a free Danish-oriented bar (most of us were drinking the Carlsberg beer!) and a table with fresh baked Danish bread and all kinds of cheese. We met a friendly, interesting guy named Miles who, together with a friend, runs an Internet radio show about movies:
We spent quite a while talking to him. It was hitting 11pm by then, and poor Joy was fading fast (since she had just a little excitement last night too!!) We wanted a chance to meet and congratulate Tom before we left, so we braved the crowd and ran into him on his way out in search of dinner (he had come to the screening straight from work). Tom very graciously stopped to talk with us, introduced us to his girlfriend, Charlotte Riley (who played Cathy to Tom's Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights"), and proceeded to get into a discussion with us that must have lasted at least 20 minutes. It was a real discussion too, not just the standard celebrity meet-and-greet. It was very cool. Tom was just so easy to talk to. I found the movie and his character (both his performance and the real person) so fascinating that there were all kinds of things to talk about (none of the usual trying to figure out what to say on my part!). At the very end, Joy asked him to sign pictures for us.
After the picture signing, I think Joy said something about us following his career after "RockNRolla" (I can't remember for sure how it came up), and he asked if we had seen "Wuthering Heights" and said it was his girlfriend's favorite (for obvious reasons, LOL!!). We said we had, but then I said something about him playing Bill Sykes (in the recent PBS version of "Oliver Twist"). He had mentioned Bill Sykes during the Q&A (although it turns out I had misunderstood what he said), and he got very excited that we had seen it and that I thought he gave a great performance as Bill Sykes. (He was really scary!!) Tom seemed genuinely pleased that that performance was appreciated. We told him we were going to let him off to go get something to eat, and there was lots of hand-shaking and "Great to meet you"s all around and they took off.
He was just very warm and friendly, and so was Charlotte. A lovely, gracious couple! All in all, a very friendly gathering, and a lovely night!!
I took a few pictures with my cell phone, but the lights were very dim and they didn't turn out too great.
Watch the trailer:
In theaters October 2009