Films Of Moral Struggle Bronson Draft Essays

Submitted By gyuty
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Chris Osowiecki
Films of Moral Struggle
Prof. Tueth
April 15, 2013

The Fight for Fame

Everyday each of us wakes up, goes to work, comes home, goes to bed, and like this the mists of history slowly descend over us and we fade from memory and into anonymity. It is this notion that is addressed in director Nicolas Winding Refn's 2008 film Bronson, starring Tom Hardy as the titular character. It details the story of a young man who the world would come to know as Bronson and his fascinating struggle for fame. Bronson, saw the path of anonymity, he saw himself quietly becoming one of the audience, a face in the crowd, just another nameless participant in the great race of life. Bronson saw that path and he knew he could never walk it, he would have to make his own, he knew that he had to find a way to be magnificent, he had to become a star. To this end Bronson uses fighting as his ultimate form of expression and his means to escape the shackles of a mundane life spent in anonymity, which to him is the true prison. The movie opens with a shot of Bronson simply standing and facing the camera, his expression is vacant, it is as if he stares beyond the viewer. As he begins speaking the opening lines, “All my life I wanted to be famous. I knew I was meant for better things” there follows a montage of Bronson in a myriad of different prisons, all while still wearing that same impenetrable face of contemplation. These early scenes serve to establish the scope and breadth of Bronson's ambitions, as well as establishing a road map that the film will soon travel along. During these shots Bronson laments his lack of traditional fame winning skills, such as singing or dancing, the montage fades to black and reveals a dark room lit with a blood red light. The camera circles the small cell in the center revealing a naked and bloody Bronson, he is covered in ash and paces the cell like an animal. Suddenly several men in riot gear rush into the room and engage Bronson in combat, who despite fighting like a man possessed is laid low. Despite the obvious pain he suffers Bronson manages to keep a smile and repeatedly taunts the guards until they savagely knock him unconscious. The power of this opening sequence is undeniable, and demonstrates director Nicolas Winding Refn brilliant use of lighting and of musical accompaniment, and often times the two together. Whether it be a driving techno song or a soaring classic the piece always adds tremendously to the emotional impact of the scene. The music is slow and smoldering as Bronson paces, building a sense of dread and anticipation. The nightmarish red glow, like a spot light for the damned, highlights the impending feeling of violence and bloodshed. As the guards rush in the lights suddenly flash on and the music reaches a brilliant crescendo. This sequence of events calls to mind the moments before the curtain rises for a great show, a theme that will continue to be developed throughout the movie. With the opening sequence complete and the title screen flashed the movie proper begins. Bronson details his childhood, which he insists was entirely normal, his parents did not beat or abuse him and in fact from what we see they love him dearly. However, from an early age Bronson was predisposed towards fighting, as we are treated to various scenes of a younger Bronson engaging in fights. These scenes all feature Bronson in the center, his violent spectacle having drawn the attention of all those around him. Typically Bronson will dominate the foreground in these shots while just on the periphery we can see his audience almost transfixed by the display. This technique mimics the actual events, through violence and performance Bronson is able to become almost larger then life, he becomes more important than those nameless observers that get forced to the sidelines. This is integral to his development as a person. He learns from an early age that fighting draws a crowd. People will look at