At the very least, Bronson introduces the world to Tom Hardy, who has a real chance to become a BIG DEAL in the acting world. As Michael Peterson, a hot-tempered nutjob who eventually changes his name to Charles Bronson for style points purposes, Hardy chews the scenery without ever taking the viewer out of character. He makes us believe that Bronson is who he is: a lost soul who craves the spotlight more than blood itself. The sporadic sequences with Bronson on a mock stage, excitedly talking to a crowd, back this viewpoint up, as does the fact that Bronson loves torturing his victims, but never goes all the way in murdering them. It’s all about psychological domination and control, both of his prey and his audience. Winding Refn’s attempt at a modern day A Clockwork Orange shows a bit of potential: for isolated spurts, he channels Lynchian imagery and Kubrick character probing. But unfortunately, these moments are really isolated. For such a potentially exciting subject matter—an attention-seeking criminal moving from solitary confinement to a mental hospital, then back again…a cycle of power and defiance—Bronson hits far too many lulls. It’s somehow boring for long stretches, despite Hardy’s best efforts to elevate the mediocre direction and poor editing, and leaves little to hold onto when all is said and done.