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Awesome: 29.79%
Worth A Look: 19.15%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

5 reviews, 17 user ratings

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Hard Word, The
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by Brian McKay

"Guy Pearce switches to 'Scruffy' mode for this meandering heist flick"
3 stars

After some breakout performances in films like MEMENTO and L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, Guy Pearce seemed content to phone it in on movies like THE TIME MACHINE and THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. In the HARD WORD, we have a bearded, scraggly, nearly unrecognizable Guy who gives a solid performance in an otherwise forgettable film.

When I took the DVD over to a friend's house, she looked at the title and thought that it was called "The Hard Wood" (Cue 70's porno riff - Wocka wocka wocka wocka . . . ) At least a film with that title would probably deliver a more satisfying climax than The Hard Word did, without taking so bloody long to get to it.

Pearce plays Dale, a convicted felon who is serving time with his two convicted felon brothers Shane (Joel Edgerton) and Mal (Damien Richardson). Conveniently, all three are allowed to serve their time together in the same prison. The Brotherly trio's specialty is heists, and they pride themselves at having never hurt anyone in the course of a job (or at least not seriously hurt, since I imagine getting gassed until you puke and pass out is no picnic).

Recognizing their talents, their sleazy criminal attorney Frank (Robert Taylor) works out a deal with a greedy warden and a pair of greedy cops. The brothers are allowed to leave prison now and again to pull off the odd heist, supposedly earning a reduction of sentence and a share of the money taken. However, Frank manages to screw them over time and again, and to make matters worse, he's shagging Dale's wife Carol (Rachel Griffiths) on the side.

After feeling used one time to many, Dale and his brothers agree to help Frank rob a group of bookies at the Melbourne Cup. Knowing full well that Frank plans to have them killed afterward, Dale plans a little escape and revenge of his own.

Unfortunately, the plan backfires, and the revenge is delayed a time or two too many as the film grinds through the third act. While The Hard Word isn't a bad film, it isn't particularly novel, either. The performances are generally solid, but it wastes precious time in some ridiculous romantic subplots and spends precious little on the actual heist aspect of the story. The heists themselves aren't all that cleverly staged or entertaining, and while the dialogue is serviceable, it's not particularly memorable (of course, thick Aussie accents and a really low DVD audio track don't help matters). By the time it finally gets to the revenge and reconciliation, it delivers up a finale' that is predictable and disappointing.

One would be hard pressed to find anything to recommend THE HARD WORD beyond a single viewing, and even that first time can get laborious. Again, it's not a bad film, until you measure it up against the likes of CHOPPER or the pre-Madonna films of Guy Ritchie. THE HARD WORD is not too hard of a watch, but you may just have a hard time remembering where the last hour and forty five minutes of your life went afterward.

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originally posted: 04/09/04 09:41:19
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2003 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/20/04 Agent Sands Pretty fun and clever. Good music score. 4 stars
7/23/03 Matt Williams God movie, charcater based and not all violence, good flick 4 stars
6/01/03 Mina Hollywood better start improving their actor's abilities after seeing this one 5 stars
5/06/03 dj bronnie I'm a film reviewer and I loved the freshness of this film. No Hollywood manufacturing 5 stars
3/27/03 Tia Larsen better than dirty deeds 5 stars
11/03/02 Mina Pearce is the first "real" actor I've seen in years! 5 stars
7/04/02 Sarah Leheny brilliant 5 stars
6/24/02 ^Elendil^ Fun. Exciting. Some humour. Much suspense. Worthwhile popcorn fare. 4 stars
5/31/02 J Shemberiton full of pace looks beautiful,sounds great 5 stars
5/31/02 young one love Guy 5 stars
5/31/02 camster full of suspense 5 stars
5/31/02 clackers brilliant 5 stars
5/31/02 maddies cousin sexy 5 stars
5/31/02 maddie very cool 5 stars
5/31/02 james S great action 5 stars
5/31/02 homlby just great 5 stars
5/31/02 Barry Breen Astounding 5 stars
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  13-Jun-2003 (R)



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