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The Hard Word

Starring: Guy Pearce, Rachel Griffiths, Damien Richardson, Joel Edgerton and Robert Taylor
Directed/written by: ScottRoberts
Rated: R

 



The Hard Word is an oddly dark comedy. It's that singularly Aussie brand of humor that sails across the Pacific every once in awhile.

Delightfully corrupt this little criminal yarn arrives complete with a special vernacular, "Butcher's Babble" dolloped within (fear not it's subtitled during the brief incoherent verbal bits) and good old fashioned Australian acting talents.

The cast is perfection, truly, but the script needed some fine tuning to glue the caliber of actor to the scenes properly. It's a twisting story that sometimes farts along with a sloven stale dullness. And one gets the feeling these leaden parts are due to incomplete character connections and odd plot movements that are more developed inside writer and first time director Scott Roberts' head then laid out before us. Shame because this could have been positively brilliant.

Dale (Guy Pearce in a nose piece ala Nicole Kidman- thusly toning down his viciously handsome looks) is the smartest of three rather Stooge-like crime brothers. His siblings, Mal (Damien Richardson) and Shane (Joel Edgerton) follow his lead, which seems to involve long bouts within prison walls.

Dale has it all figured out though prison life is all part of the greater picture. The boys work with corrupt police and simply (no pun intended) need to do time for appearances…

We meet the lads, as they are sprung and dining on a café meal. They've been out about an hour and they are planning the next job thanks to their "coordinator" and attorney Frank (Robert Taylor).

Frank's got friends in really high places and fixes it so the team can get the job done and bee set…but there's a snag. They are caught and thanks to a clerical faux pas back to jail they go. But, if the guy's agree to do a nearly impossible job - in which the warden has a share - they can get out permanently.

Dale wigs. He knows there is more to the story but figures he can figure that out a whole lot better with the millions they'll steal and of course from outside the prison walls...so he plays the game. He also highly suspects his trash dressed tough tart of a wife, Carol (Rachel Griffith), and frisky Frank may be playing a bit of bed rugby. On top of all these growing twitches now Frank's gone and adding two menacing odd chaps to the heist's team. The whole thing's a tad on the suspicious side.

Who are the good guys? Are there any good guys? Remember this is an Australian film their criminal lads often bleed over into practically cultural heroes. And who's gonna get the money? the tart? The attorney? The brothers three?

Guy Pearce really rules the day here. He does a fantabulous job of keeping it all real - even when his siblings are a bit cartoonish within all the mayhem. Rachel Griffiths' wife character Carol as the catty sex vixen is done fine. But their everlasting till-death-do-them-part bond just doesn't gel.

A couple of notable talents were spotted frolicking about in the film as well; Damien Richardson and this slab of Aussie mansteak of yum Joel Edgerton. They managed to take characters sketched from a vaudevillian bad-guy stereotypes and breathe a bit of humanity into them. That's talent.

The fun part of the whole piece is the upside down under theory by Scott Roberts that, "crime does pay" and pay handsomely apparently.

Snack recommendation: Pepsi

 

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