Episode 2

Bronson (2008) and The Terminal (2004)

The second film in our Stranger Than Fiction cycle is Nicolas Winding Refn's left field take on bio pics, 2008's Bronson.

Special Guest: Katey Stoetzel is co-founder and TV Editor for InBetweenDrafts. She hosts the “House of the Dragon After Show” podcast and can be read on various other places like Inverse and Screen Speck.

Refn's conspicuous filmmaking style lends itself well to the crazy and violent life of Charles Bronson aka Britain's "most violent prisoner." Shot as a performance art piece rather than a narrative film, Bronson was certainly a calling card for both Refn and the magnificent lead performance of Tom Hardy. Looking back on the film some fifteen years later, the boldness feels oversaturated and worn, like an overly compressed mp3. It blasts loud, but the dynamic range is so blown out that little emotional timbre is left. Especially troubling is the tightrope Refn chooses to snap in two instead of traverse. Refn claims he is making a movie about man he knows nothing about. Charles Bronson is a real person who did very awful things to real people. Refn gives us a barometer with which to measure the level of exploitation that true life films can conjure. Here lies the bottom.

For our chaser film, we lounge with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg in 2004's The Terminal, a comfy mid-aughts dramedy filled with max schmaltz and min edge.