Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
  1. This is unhinged genius, an amazing piece of acting. Brutal, yes, but magnetic all the same.
  2. Refn’s artful and energetic film never goes further than face value.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Bronson isn’t a story in the traditional sense at all. It’s a meditation on the art of rage - an action painting passing itself off as an action movie.
  4. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    With an intelligent, provocative and stylized approach, Bronson (based on a true story) follows the metamorphosis of Mickey Peterson into Britain's most dangerous prisoner, Charles Bronson.
  5. 75
    It is 92 minutes of rage, acted by Tom Hardy.
  6. Hardy is remarkable, however. This is an actor with a memorably expressive rasp of a voice, both blunt and musical.
  7. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    Whether it's Peterson/Bronson's more theatrical bits or his untamable character's many blood-spitting, knuckle-beating, explosions, Hardy chomps down on his once-in-a-career role with stunning ferocity and never lets go. He's extraordinary.
  8. 75
    Tom Hardy gives an amazing performance as Peterson, who took on the nickname Charlie Bronson, after the "Death Wish" actor.
  9. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    He's neither victim nor hero, but a man who, in every conceivable sense, belongs behind bars.
  10. The tone is surreal, at once visceral and clinical, making Bronson an unsettling experience: savage, disturbing, and yet somehow fascinating.
  11. 75
    It's played with real zest and energy, and if you can stand the heat it gives off it may charm you despite yourself.
  12. 63
    It's lively and vivid but ends up leaving the viewer indifferent to the central character, his life, and his dubious place in British pop culture.
  13. 75
    This movie and Hardy's electrifying performance will knock you for a loop.
  14. 100
    Bronson owes a little or a lot to Kubrick's "Clockwork Orange," but if that's a crime I wish more people would commit it.
  15. It's an assaultive work about an assaultive fellow.
  16. 83
    There are two Bronsons on display here: the impossible thug that we don’t dare release into polite society, and the guy we enjoy watching do his terrible thing. The man and the movie are both living, punching contradictions.
  17. Bronson is one of those “based on a true story” dramatizations where the theatrically staged drama only gets in the way of the more interesting truth.
  18. Reviewed by: Stephen Farber
    Despite the artistic flourishes, this is still an utterly repellent look at a psychopath who does not deserve the attention of the filmmakers or the audience.
  19. 90
    Bronson invites you to admire its protagonist as a pure, muscular embodiment of anarchy. And perhaps you will, but you may also be glad that he’s still behind bars.
  20. Refn has somehow found his way to an authentic English hard-man drama, anchored in a dynamite performance, even as it celebrates thug life.
  21. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Too smart/arty for the slasher set, and too violent for high-brows, Bronson may have a tough time finding its niche, although it has "cult hit" written all over it.
  22. 30
    Bronson is essentially a faux-operatic, music hall turn--a larky, lumpen version of "Lola Montès."
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 63 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Apr 25, 2013
    Many have dismissed this film for not exploring the character of Charlie Bronson. Saying this completely negates the focus of the film. Refn is only focused on exploring the idea of the man, not the man himself. The main theme of the picture is the fascination with fame, the other-worldly persona it brings and, the emotionally empty ramifications it has. Fame is without substance, so therefore the character is too. Full Review »
  2. Jul 19, 2012
    Not sure what to think at this film at first. It came off as gritty 80's style of film making. Which almost seemed to be inspired by clockwork orange. Tom Hardy was excellent as the role of Charlie Bronson and the fact he did 2500 pushups a day before this role shows his dedication to this film. He was the only shining light in this film unfortunately  and though the film is about his life, maybe was focused on him a little too much and not how he affected those around him. 
    Full Review »
  3. Nov 30, 2013
    Bronson is a great, extremely strange movie from the director of the fantastic Drive. The central performance from Tom Hardy is truly mesmerizing. Despite the fact that Charlie Bronson is a complete, unrepentant maniac, you can't help but feel sympathy for him. Which is a pretty amazing movie magic trick in itself. Compulsive viewing ahoy! Full Review »