Tag Archives: Tom Hardy

The Drop (2014) Movie Retro Review by Darrin Gauthier

THE DROP

Director: Michaël R. Roskam
Writers: Dennis Lehane (screenplay), Dennis Lehane (short story “Animal Rescue”)
Stars: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini

Plot:  Bob Saginowski finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighborhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost.
Running Time: 1 hour 46 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 89%    Audience 76%

Why I watched it: I dragged my feet on this one, wasn’t sure of it.  No doubt Tom Hardy is a good actor but he can rub me the wrong way sometimes, his porformance can be mannered and he likes doing different voices and that bothers me or I should say it’s distracting.

Random Thoughts: This was adapted from a book by Dennis Lehane and guess what he adapted it himself, so he has no one to blame if it didn’t work.

What I liked: First off the tone and look is great, I might have dragged my feet to watch it but once I started I got sucked right in.  I really like when a movie slowly lets you know what it’s about, we get a set up off what The Drop is and the characters but this is way more interested in character than in plot.

Now this is where it helps that Lehane adapted this himself cause in the film the plot is moved forward by what the characters do, not the other way around.  The characters are fleshed out and feel very lived it and real and also the big plus is we learn more as we go deeper into the film a couple of these characters are not exactly what we think they are.

Tom Hardy is very good here, I think this maybe my favorite of his preformances, he’s quiet and at first he seems simple and then you’re not really sure, is he a criminal, is he a bad guy, or his he a bit off.  He reveals himself as the movie goes and we get to see different shades of his character.  James Gandolfini is also real good, another guy who has more going on underneath, he’s angry and of the two he seems like the badder guy.

The two have a great scene together in Gandolfini’s basement, it’s not showy, no one yells or screams but it’s one of those scenes that you know more is being said than what we’re hearing and Hardy is great in the scene basically just saying things as they are.  Hardy is on the top of his game cause a major subplot is about him finding a dog, and he’s great interacting and talking to the dog and also the way he treats the dog is big in the bigger picture.

The film isn’t filled with action there is violence but I wouldn’t call the film slow and also I don’t think it’s a slow burn film but a film that reveals it’s self as it goes every scene deals with character so they need to spend the time making these people full and complicated, almost every one of these characters have a lot of stuff going on, a lot of baggage and most of them are not black and white.

What I didn’t like: Rapace is a good actress but for me she was miscast cast, she just wasn’t right for the role and her character didn’t fit as well as the others and by the end of the film she really doesn’t have much to do.  I’m in between with Matthias Schoenaerts, I do thing it hurt the film that three of the main characters are doing american accents and don’t really feel they’re from Brooklyn especially when you have Gandolfini wearing his NY Jets jacket and just oozing New York.

The only sub plot that kind of felt flat was having this cop in the background trying to solve a cold case and even though it’s important information the character added nothing really and we find out what he found out in a better way through the characters.

Final Thoughts: This was a surprise for me as I really liked it, as you can see by the Rotten Tomatoes scores people liked it but I don’t think enough people have seen it. If you like Lehane’s books and if you’re a fan of any of the cast give it a watch.

Rating: ‪8/10‬

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The Dark Knight Rises (2012) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

DARK KNIGHT RISES

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Jonathan Nolan (screenplay),  Christopher Nolan(screenplay)
Stars: Christian Bale,  Tom Hardy,  Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman

The Dark Knight Rises is the concluding part of the Dark Knight Trilogy by Christopher Nolan released in 2012. Four years had passed since the epic The Dark Knight left fans of the franchise satisfied and flabbergasted and although we wanted more I think deep down we all knew this couldn’t be topped.

I previously mentioned in my last review that in 2008 I felt it should have ended with The Dark Knight as I felt that instalment couldn’t be matched never mind surpassed. By 2012 I was interested to see where “Rises” could take us and to be fair I never went into the IMAX theatre thinking this was going to be better than it’s predecessor. In fact my expectations were contained for the time being.

I’m not going to beat around the bush here. Is The Dark Knight Rises better than The Dark Knight or Batman Begins? Of course it isn’t. Is it a bad film? Of course it isn’t. Is its conclusion satisfying to the audience? Well…..perhaps. (I’ll come to that)

Before this review grows arms and legs I’m not going to compare this movie with its previous instalments any further as I feel it’s unfair and to be honest, it’s a pretty great film when you isolate it from the other two.

Christopher Nolan has a real knack of throwing the audience right into the thick of it and here is no exception. The opening shots of the aeroplane flying over a beautiful landscape (partially Scotland I may add) gives us the big reveal on who the villain is this time and Tom Hardy’s “Bane” is a force to be reckoned with. Hardy packed the pounds on to “fill” the role and really looked a menacing figure with the famous breathing apparatus but with a slightly peculiar voice. If fans moaned about Batman’s voice previously then a lot of justification on the criticism of the voice effect on Bane’s mask was correct. Again on a first time showing you may miss some dialogue because of this and I admit I struggled at times. Having viewed this movie several times it is fair to say that some of Bane’s lines are easily quotable now and again, we as fans just love to nitpick don’t we?

8 years have passed since Harvey Dent was murdered and Batman took the blame for this event in hope that Dent’s “White Knight of Gotham” would give the people hope and remembrance on what Harvey stood for. Since that night Bruce Wayne became a recluse (with a limp and a cane, due to injuring himself) and hung up the Bat Cape. With a fund raising function at Wayne Manor Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) poses as a maid who under the strict instructions of Alfred is to deliver dinner to Bruce’s quarters with a key to access a room leave the tray and leave immediately. That wasn’t going to happen as Selina had other plans in breaking into Bruce Wayne’s safe. Although we are lead to believe that she is after Martha Wayne’s pearl necklace, she is in fact after Bruce Wayne’s finger prints.

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle is never mentioned as “Catwoman” throughout the movie but it is heavily hinted through newspaper clippings “The Cat Burglar Strikes Again” etc. Also the wardrobe for the character is similar that to a cat complete with goggles that double up as little cat ears when placed on top of her head. Hathaway really excels in this role and is a far cry from her role in “The Devil Wears Pravda” Selina is hard, cold and knows exactly what she wants and warns Bruce that a storm is coming. Hathaway really fits into Nolan’s Dark Knight vision and it’s fair to say she was perfectly cast in the role as witnessed in those opening scenes for her character.

Bruce Wayne really took a step back in The Dark Knight compared to Batman Begins (sorry I’m not comparing, honestly I said I wouldn’t do that) but The Dark Knight Rises is drawing from the origins of Batman Begins when it is revealed where Bane came from and what his plan is for Gotham and Batman. If the Joker physiologically tormented Batman, Bane’s intents were physically. Bruce Wayne having been in seclusion for so long and pointed out by Alfred wasn’t the same person he was. Alfred’s concerns for Bruce where heartfelt and feared Bruce becoming Batman again because Bane’s stature and more so his training with “The League of Shadows”

The Dark Knight Rises takes us on a journey on Bruce Wayne’s spirit and will and how this character must rise to take on Bane. I’m not going to detail keys sequences for anyone who hasn’t watched this movie but the scenes in the “pit” really is where the key to where Bruce was physiologically and where he was physically also.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt was an excellent addition as Blake to the already superb cast and carried those composition sequences perfectly. The character of Blake is key to the movie and is the connection between all of the characters, you could say the character is the master of ceremonies and has a fitting set up at the end of the movie that Christopher Nolan threw in there for the fans which although is a little cheesy is a nice touch and leaves us wondering “what next for this character?”

In summary this movie was never going to top the previous sequel but surprisingly links more to Batman Begins and bookends the Trilogy perfectly. On the whole Christopher Nolan gave us a near perfect Trilogy which is an achievement after the last incarnation (Batman and Robin (1997) left a bad taste in fans mouths. Spanning 7 years from beginning to end showed the commitment from the director and now having been involved and adding input into the DCU’s version as an executive producer highlights his fondness for the character and cares enough to still be involved although Ben Affleck’s “The Batman” is again another take on the character. For fans it’s a pleasure to revisit the Nolan Trilogy and for me I can’t recommend it enough. Thank You Christopher Nolan.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Movie Retro Review by John Walsh

Mad Max Fury Road

Director: George Miller
Writers: George Miller,  Brendan McCarthy
Stars: Tom Hardy,  Charlize Theron,  Nicholas Hoult

Fury Road was my first foray into George Miller’s alluring, apocalyptic world of Mad Max. Oddly enough, my only experience with any of Miller’s other work prior to this came with Babe: Pig in the City when I was much younger. I think it’s fair to say both films are somewhat different  and I think it’s blatantly obvious that this franchise holds a place in his heart hence the prolonged nature of its reincarnation. Now, I’ve read many opinions stating that to really get the most out of this film then you should revisit or watch the original Gibson led trilogy. I ignored this advice in 2015 and it really didn’t lessen my enjoyment at all.

It’s been three decades since the last incarnation hit the silver screens and man the film is beautiful in just about every way. The story is pretty damn simple too, which is one of the big positives for me. It’s essentially a two hour long, prolonged chase scene filled with absolute madness throughout. Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) betrays her screwball boss Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), a rather vile looking, mask wearing villain of the film and Max (Tom Hardy) at this stage being used as a blood donor is left with an enviable decision and ends up embroiled within the chaos too. It’s a world suffering from the inhospitable after effects of a nuclear holocaust and there’s several different wacky, looking tribes vying for resources, be it ammunition, water or gasoline.

The aforementioned Immortan Joe is lording it up as a messiah figure at the Citadel, a vast, towering, rock formation that’s swarming with the weird powdered looking ‘War Boys’. It also has a large quantity of water, a precious commodity. The former are foot soldiers that possess devotion heavily inspired by the infamous Japanese, WWII, Kamikaze pilots. With pretty much all of them afflicted by cancerous lymphoma, a direct result of the radioactive nature of the environment, the ‘half-lives’ require frequent blood transfusions to extend their life, hence the need for someone like Max. There’s two other main factions which don’t get anywhere near the level of fleshing out that the Citadel and War Boys receive, but needless to say, our protagonists severely piss off Joe and all three come riding after them.

It’s not for precious commodities that they give chase however. No, it’s the five ‘stolen’ wives of Joe that they’re after. And Furiosa, spurred on with a cherished memory of the ‘green place’ from her childhood decides to save the quintet of beautiful women and take them there far from the clutches of their wretched husband. There’s one fascinating, if not grim, insight into what Joe does with his cast offs when Miller shows a line of overweight women being used for their breast milk. There’s definitely the usual undertones of feminism present in there, but that seems to be prevalent in just about everything nowadays and it fits well with the story in all honesty, never truly drawing attention away from the myriad of events taking place in rapid succession.

Speaking of which, I’ll quickly get into some performances in this film. Charlize Theron is utterly brilliant in Fury Road. She portrays a fiercely strong character that perfectly offsets the gruff Max. Furiosa has the most development in the film and you feel genuinely sorry for her when it becomes apparent that the memories of her childhood have been wiped out. Tom Hardy isn’t given much lines in the film, which is criminal given the distinct, demulcent tones he possesses, but Max is a man of few words and there is some development of the character at least with the flashbacks and his progression away from being a lone wolf. Nicholas Hoult was also very impressive as Nux, who I’ve failed to mention at all, a War Boy that goes through a rollercoaster of emotions and is just really cool character.

Visually, it just doesn’t get any better than this for me. This film is just unbelievably beautiful in every way. The incredible wide shots, the mesmerising CG, the blisteringly paced and choreographed action sequences and the amazing costume and prop designs. It’s supposed to be a world that’s feels lived in, much like the original Star Wars trilogy, and it absolutely excels in capturing that feel. I don’t think I can praise John Seale enough for what he accomplished with Fury Road. It’s criminal that this film didn’t win the Oscar for cinematography or visual effects. The weird and wacky vehicles looked like something out of a 80s action film, but in a positive way, whilst the sandstorm scene, complete with lightning and tornadoes tearing past the War Rig was perhaps my favourite of the film.

The one minor niggle I had with the film and I must stress it’s a MINOR niggle was the lack of justification or explanation for Furiosa agreeing to smuggle the wives away. I could understand her deciding to head back to her youthful shangri-la and stumbling across Max on the way, but the whole wife thing was a slight stretch. Max too never really explains his motivation for helping out apart from the urgent need to escape the blood thirsty War Boys and his high value status as a universal donor. Thankfully though, the action is so enjoyable to watch that it’s never really an issue, something more than likely helped by the lightning quick pacing of the story for the better part of two hours. I absolutely recommend this if you have t seen it already. Me personally, I’ve seen it about half a dozen times now and can never get tired of it.

Child 44 (2015) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

CHILD 44.png

Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writers: Richard Price (screenplay),  Tom Rob Smith (novel)
Stars: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace

“There is no murder in paradise”

Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman reunite (The Dark Knight Rises (2012) in Child 44 and have them top bill a Russian serial killer movie.

Child 44 is not the movie it could have been. It has the story (based on the best-selling novel by Tom Rob Smith) It has the talent in Hardy, Oldman and Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Prometheus) and even supporting actors Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) and Paddy Considine (Dead Mans Shoes (2004), all the right ingredients are there for a great movie. Unfortunately the movie isn’t engaging enough and the subplot distracts the audience from the main plot about solving a serial killer case.

Leo Demidov (Hardy) an orphan is raised by a Russian family and is drafted into Army during World War II. A few years after the war, Leo who is now a captain and married to Raisa Demidov (Rapace). Along with his best friend Alexei Andreyev (Fares Fares) and the unpredictable and ambitious Vasili Nikitin played by Joel Kinnaman (Suicide Squad) join the MGB during the regime of Joseph Stalin.

Leo, Alexei and Vasili are looking for Anatoly Tarasovich Brodsky (Clarke) who is on the run from the MGB is tracked down after some intense interrogation scenes to a farm ran by a family with two young girls, who deny Brodsky is there or even know him. As Leo, eventually finds Brodsky making a run for it Leo catches up with him as they exchange blows.

Whilst in the midst of this Vasili has the family on their knees and shoots both the man and woman in the back of the head in front of their traumatised young daughters. Leo is too late to get back to stop Vasil’s actions and is furious with him. It’s in these scenes we get an idea of the kind of character Leo is. He was orphaned himself and from Hardy’s facial reactions you can see this still haunts Leo, regardless of his position with the MGB. The scenes also gives us indication the kind of job he has to do on a daily basis.

Tom Hardy is the star of the film through and through. It’s a story about his family life and professional life clashing over the case of Alexei’s child’s dead body. When his son is found murdered completely naked near the railway, the official explanation is that the boy was hit by a train since there is “no murder in paradise” since that is seen as a capitalist disease.

But Leo finds other similar cases and proceeds investigating, falling in disgrace with the Party. The officials want to pass it off as a train accident, but witnesses swear that it was murder. As more and more bodies start turning up and the hierarchy continue to look away, it’s up to Hardy to find the killer and bring him to justice.

The only issue with this movie is the way it’s presented. Part of the movie is focused on the serial killer storyline and the other half is about the Soviet Officials exiling his family and stripping him of power for his disobedience in his latest investigation. He has lost his rank and is transferred with Raisa to Volsk to work with General Mikhail Nesterov played by Gary Oldman.

When another boys body is found near the railway in the same conditions of Alexei’s son, Leo convinces Nesterov that there is a serial-killer on the loose and he agrees that Leo conducts a further investigation. It’s the way these two stories intertwine that is messy and in my opinion not executed that well.

Child 44 is a film with a promising storyline, great performances (although we see Russians talking to each other in English for some reason I can’t explain) but not engaging enough in my book. Which left me slightly disappointed and if it hadn’t been for Hardy’s solid performance I probably would have given up with this movie half way through.