"The Hard Word"
Directed by Scott Roberts.
Written by Scott Roberts.
Starring Guy Pearce, Rachel Griffiths and Robert Taylor.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 7/3/03
Didn’t see a single trailer for this film,
and didn’t hear a single thing about it. My friend Val “Club Kid”
Brotski saw it in LA last month and told me “Dammit, Justin, you
need to see ‘The Hard Word.’” Threats to the well-being of the
author always seem to work, so when it opened at a local theater
here last week, I knew I had to partake in the action.
It is cool, really cool, to see a film
totally fresh. Hadn’t seen any stills, no production photos, no
Internet advertising, no reviews from other sources. Even Val just
said that I needed to see it, without telling me a thing about what
the film was about. So, when I rolled in, I had to take it all in
and that made the ride that much sweeter. Guy Pearce stars as a
bank robber named Dale, one of three brothers that is in a prison
somewhere in Australia. Released when the film opens, Dale, Shane
(Joel Edgerton), and Mal (Damien Richardson) get a gig to heist a
couple million for their dirty lawyer Frank (Robert Taylor, who I
KNEW I recognized--he was one of the Agents from “The Matrix”!!).
Unfortunately, the threesome are thrown back into the slammer, and
they start to make plans for a big heist that could keep them out of
the slammer forever.
“The Hard Word” just has a real good, cool
vibe. Part of that comes from the simple fact that you can’t
understand 25% of the film’s total dialogue. Seriously, I had no
idea what was being said in certain scenes, and this was well after
the first 15 minutes of any British, Irish or Australian film, where
you spend your time trying to pick up the dialect and making due
with your shortcomings. Pearce and Richardson have full
conversations where not a single word can be understood. But, that
makes it cool. Also cool is the soundtrack--it’s got this kind of
mod/punk/rock thing going that works for caper films or crime films
from the 60s, and it works. It also has two
so-out-of-place-you-raise-your-hands-up-in-objection bare breast
scenes, and tough violence with plenty of cursing. In other words,
everything that a Hollywood action films needs these days shows up
in “The Hard Word”, and dirty 1980s: it’s good to see you again.
The brothers have to hang out in the
correctional facility for a bit too long during the film, and it
does drag in a couple of points. The ending is good, but I wanted
it to go a different way; not such a bad thing, but I just thought
it could have been resolved differently and achieved better
results. Mostly nibbles, but the film as a whole is some fun
stuff. Just wish I had a translator to understand just what the
hell these guys were talking about some of the time...
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard