A couple of days detour into newer releases had Give 'Em Hell Malone and Bronson on tap last night.
That the film works at all is a testament to the power of a brilliant performance and the unique artistic vision that the film maker/screenwriter/actors brought to the table. On a slightly separate note, the excellent score Graham mentioned in his earlier post is the glue that holds Bronson together. It's almost a character in the film - ethereal, funny and poignant, the kind of soundtrack that enhances scenes but doesn't get in the way. I'm hesitant to go all the way and call this an unqualified home run. It's the kind of film that delivers huge in the thrills department and demands a second viewing, but I'm still not 100% sure it warrants the top marks I want to heap upon it. Bronson left me with the same feeling I had after Hedwig and Pete Tong, if that makes any sense. I'm going to let it percolate for a few days and stew on it before I decide. My gut instinct is to call this a clear winner though.
Sooner or later, we'll hopefully find a filmmaker who “gets it” and dials it down rather than up. Film Noir works best in the desperate and quiet world of a protagonist with nowhere to turn. If he isn't screwed by the 15 minute mark, it's just another crime flick.