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Please join me in celebrating the super esthetic irony of filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn. I just streamed Bronson to see more of the great Tom Hardy whom I’d never heard of before yesterday, but Lawless had me aching to praise him aloud as well as to see another sample. Normally I’d let the first impression settle a bit but in this case I went straight to Bronson, and I’m sure glad I did. I’d been chaffing to write something about a string of recent viewings which I see as deeply related: Codebreaker (biopic of Alan Turing), Wilde, Bronson.
So, I’ve got a bunch of subjects here, nothing new about that, all jostling to get heard, nothing new about that either: I prioratize two, and squeeze in a third:
I’ll summarize what I see in common about Codebreaker Turing, Wilde, and Bronson.
I’ll start to discuss the extraordinary cinematic collaboration between Tom Hardy and his fellow filmmakers: script, story, cinematography …
I’ll start a scrapbook on the genius of this Danish born film ironist, Refn.
Note: I want to list a bunch of things, interpret them, about Refn before I study what others have said: then I’ll read around, then revisit here, possibly modifying my first impressions.
But: they relate. What I see in Refn is very much what I see in Codebreaker Turing, Wilde, and Bronson!
Codebreaker narrates how Alan Turing led the way in breaking the Nazi’s enigma code, helping Britain and the Allies resist Nazi Uboat attacks on supplies sailing to England. The world since WWII is very much Alan Turing’s baby. But: Turing was homosexual. That’s a deep English phobia. (I don’t like it either, but I don’t put people in jail about it.) Britain owed Turing hero worship, maybe god worship; Britain jailed him as a fag, castrated him,: murdered him. Another Christ on the cross.
England has no right to exist after jailing Turing
Wilde depicts another British genius, Oscar Wilde: great great great great writer. The Ballad of Reading Gaol is essential great English poetry. Britain owed Wilde hero worship, maybe god worship; Britain jailed him as a pederast. Another Christ on the cross.
Bronson pictures another jail bird: a thug, a scumbag (however talented) who tries to (and succeeds in) making a name for himself with someone else’s name: Charles Bronson: tough guy. This pseudo-Bronson is sentenced to seven years, then spends thirty-odd years in solitary, extra time for bad behavior, was still in jail at the time of the movie’s release! This “Bronson” was not like Turing, the inventor of intelligence about computers, he didn’t write delicious plays, like Wilde, novels, poems. He was a thug who didn’t like being in jail.
Now here’s my point: the people who jailed Wilde are the same people who jailed Turing, and are the same people who (jailed Jesus, and me, and) turned Bronson from a thug to a very witty, great artist monster.
Wilde’s antagonist, the Marquess of Queensberry, cannot conceive that maybe he should mind his own business: when it comes to boxing, to his son, to his son’s lover … dictating other people’s behavior: Salem judges encore. Hitler couldn’t conceive that maybe he should mind his own business, FDR couldn’t conceive that maybe he should mind his own business … I’m an anarchist: and that’s what I mean: everyone should mind their own business: there shouldn’t be any jails, life whould be a path of discovery as to what our business is, and isn’t: a lesson I say we haven’t learned at all well.
As long as we grade our own papers, we’re in heaven;
Bronson imagines himself, the helpless convict, not quite altogether helpless, as hero: what a monster hero he creates: and man does Refn create it with him!
I came to Refn because I wanted to see more of this Tom Hardy.
First my jaw dropped because his acting seemed so effective while it also seemed so passive: he wasn’t doing anything! He stood still: and let the Rorschach develop. Some actors stand out no matter the movie, some actors disappear into the movie … I see Tom Hardy as embodying how various elements ideally mesh.
Nicolas Winding Refn! Wow.
Consider the music! Wagner themes, particularly Siegfried themes: have never been better used since Wagner himself used them. And there’s irony there too. A maybe infinite set of ironies. But then too there’s Vivaldi, and operas I don’t know, and really tasty blues keyboard, always with a meaning, always ironic.
The comedy is so outrageous, so British, so English. Peter Cook, whose genius was never more evident than in the timing of his delivery for the coal-miner-who’d-rather-be-a-judge routine, should resurrect and see this homage: and laugh his ass off.
Terry Gilliam should get down on his knees at the scenes in the loony bin.
Refn should be especially commended for the multiple loonies that hatch from the British penal system: the queer promoter, the guy using his own turd for cosmetics …
2014 11 04 It’s only a few days later, but I’ve been doing just that: reading around, viewing other Refn work. The first thing I did was reference Rotten Tomatoes. Their selections couldn’t be more distant from my understanding. Some of us, a very few, are anarchists and know it; others think they’re anarchists: and aren’t. Let’s see what I think as I try a Viking fantasy from him: Valhalla Rising.
Later: there’s one thing I see that’s the same: at the center is a victim who responds with violence: Bronson, One-Eye. If there were no Great Britain, no authority, no jails, maybe Bronson wouldn’t have been so crazy: if there were no Vikings, men with iron swords, thinking they could sail around and kill, enslave, torture, then maybe One-Eye wouldn’t be such a monster.
For sure: if there were no compulsory school, pk wouldn’t be pk.
2016 08 20 I just watched Warriors. I really like Tom Hardy. And the rest of the movie: nearly everything about it. Very good fight picture. And I sure loved the wife.
Hollywood, Bollywood, Toho … the world teems with beautiful girls, women, females, wives. Some warrent special mention: and boy, do they get it here at K. But not all, not fairly, no representative: catch-as-catch-can. Accident. Let me make amends with this particular actress. Jennifer Morrison. She’s got an OK face, sure, so what. Tom Hardy and Joel Eggerton and Nick Nolte have OK faces, maybe Nolte a measure better than OK, especially playing an old drunk tipped into his seventies. Never mind. Now: look at their bodies! Now we see why they cast them’ns. And the girl is as heart stopping physically, as any of the men. It’s not her face, pretty though it may be, that arrests us: we see light streaming between her thighs. Scenes are selected so we don’t know if she’s dressed or naked, topless, bottomless … One scene we can, it’s clear, she’s wearing some kind of cute jammies: and we look at her belly, her crotch, her publics, her thighs … her backside … Caramba.
I like that. If Tom Hardy hadn’t spent a youth in the gym would anyone have discovered that he could act? Maybe, but not likley. Well girls, contemplate Jennifer Morrison, see what she and her gym earned. MMMmmm.
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