The Hard Word merely evokes a “whatever”—so average and uninteresting, it barely warrants discussion. Writer-director Scott Roberts builds his off-kilter caper with spare parts from every crime film made by the Tarantinos and Guy Richies of the world, and while the end product isn’t particularly offensive or insipid, it still never threatens to raise one’s heart rate above a temperate beat. Three wacky bank robber brothers, each boasting one defining character trait—Dale (Guy Pearce) is the suave leader suspicious of his conniving wife Carol (Rachel Griffiths), Shane (Joel Edgerton) is the hot-tempered but juvenile live wire, and Mal (Damien Richardson) is the lovably goofy cook—are released from prison with the help of their conniving lawyer/business manager Frank (Robert Taylor). Frank is sleeping with Carol behind Dale’s back, and wants the three siblings to permanently disappear; thus, he blackmails them into robbing The Melbourne Cup (for non-Aussie viewers: a famous horse race), with an eye toward killing them once the loot is in his possession. In turn, the trio, realizing Frank’s desire to double-cross them, concocts a scheme in which they’ll disappear with the bounty instead. Lots of gunfights, betrayals, and death-defying stunts ensue, accomplished with a minor dash of lunacy but only a modicum of originality. Pearce, with perpetual bags under his eyes, is suitably ugly-but-charming as a thief who—following the heist film’s tried and true formula—dreams of retiring to the country, and Griffiths’s platinum blond coiffure helps the actress channel her inner femme fatale. But the film’s hijinks are as lukewarm and stale as the sausage Shane devours for his birthday celebration, and it’s difficult to ignore the fact that pieces of better films are, like Shane’s bad meat, unpleasantly regurgitating themselves before our eyes.
- Lions Gate Films
- 103 min
- Scott Roberts
- Scott Roberts
- Guy Pearce, Rachel Griffiths, Robert Taylor, Joel Edgerton, Damien Richardson, Rhondda Findleton, Kate Atkinson, Vince Colosimo
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