Wednesday, 9 September 2015
The Hardy Boys.
131 Minutes. Starring: Tom Hardy, Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Taron Egerton, Christopher Ecceleston & Chazz Palminteri. Director: Brian Helgeland.
He is 'Legend'. The finest British actor of this suited and booted GQ generation. Tom Hardy...or should we say Tom-Tom Hardy on the double act of his legendary life and career legacy. In a modern, no need for suspect split-screen, big-budget time that sees every actor from the enigmatic 'Enemy' of Jake Gyllenhaal and 'The Double' of Jessie Eisenberg seeing deuces. This is the time for top actors to play two characters on green screen. But this trend didn't reach its biggest amount of likes and loves until 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' star Armie Hammer played twins in the film where he made his name in Jessie Eisenberg's Facebook film 'The Social Network' so-well that people thought there really was two of this establishing actor. Now with even more twin ambition in looking and playing two brothers with the same D.O.B. that couldn't be more opposite in some ways, Tom Hardy is giving us his best on the double, with a buy one, get one free formidable performance of English class with this twin ambition. It's arguably already his time with the best blockbuster under his belt going into Autumn with the massive and magnificent 'Mad Max' that has made it a lovely year for this Hardy boy along with the war games of 'Child 44' reuniting with 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy' co-star Gary Oldham. But these twins could be his peak. With all due respect to the Spandau Ballet Kemp brothers who back in the 80's seemed like not only the perfect, but the only choice to play 'The Krays' this is the gold with a nice nod to the original K's. But is this Bafta sure-thing the Academy? Oscar knows this 'Warrior' is wild and 'The Drop' on Hardy here sees a one part 'Inception' style inspiration mixed with the madness of 'Bronson' brilliance and Bane of Batman's back-breaking life mumbling brutality double-team going 'Lawless' again in more illegal business. One that sees the actor that could keep us locked in with him riding shotgun in 'Locke' turning the wheel again as he gets wrapped around the real art of acting. Now when it comes to British mob-hits this may just may be 'Godfather'.
Kray-Kray? Nah this is Tom. This is Hardy. Tom is suited. Hardy is booted. Tom is slick. Hardy is sick. Tom is cool. Hardy is anything but collected. Tom is 'Krafty'. Hardy is 'Krazy'. Tom is Ronald. Hardy is Reginald. Ronnie and Reggie. Reg and Ron. Right and wrong? Or just two of the biggest smoking mobsters coming straight out of London in the 1970's when everyone who wasn't mouthing along to the Rolling Stones was getting their satisfaction by singing stories about the Kray's and having sympathy for these devils. Now Tom may make you pleased to meet these brothers in arms, but here you don't have to guess these notorious names thanks to the dire straights they put this countries capital city in. It's important to remember that in the 'Black Mass' of a post-summer season of crime cinema that sees Johnny Depp leave all his diaries of rum in the Caribbean for the brutal, 'Departed', 'Town' of Boston, whilst Benicio Del Toro gives us the Mexican for hitman in 'Sicario', that this is not glamorous. No matter how cool these gangsters look in their attempts to mimic the 'Merican mob like a Sinatra, Sammy and Dino Rat Pack of racketeering 'Goodfellas' that are really all bad...no matter how great these films are. This is crime. It shouldn't pay and Hardy makes it hard to love these characters by bringing all their complexities to cinemas. He also makes it impossibly hard to hate them too, until it really gets bad. With his natural charisma that suits up here again with 'Inception' influence, behind all that 'Bronson' beat and bore down character that's set to flaw critics. On one hand, Tom is the measure of tape-fitted cool between the seams of Saville Row, but there's something behind all that slick, Brylcreem backed down hair. It's the moral, gangsters code heroic turn of a brothers keeper that's also left its heart in a council estate like suburb. And then of course there's the villainous, but equally charismatic and even more funny other brother. Bearing and battling mental health, madness and the ignorance of an industry that wont accept the fact that he has the balls to say he prefers boys...and we may as well be talking about the Hollywood one over the ultimate gangster. Because this is the first time an adaptation has touched this sexuality subject. And boy does Hardy give this man the dignity and respect, even if his crimes didn't quite deserve it. Now if you want to talk about chemistry, when it comes to Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy, this man all by himself has it set to the knife point of perfection. This performance sets a whole new double standard like no other. Two the Hardy way.
Foggy old London town calls on more than the 'Legend' of the Kray's here however. There's the beauty and brains of Emily Browning, the latest Miranda and Mia Australian import from Down Under to show international appeal and versatility. You'll never doubt she wasn't a born, brew and bred Brit here, but that's nothing compared to her complete performance of unconditional love standing by her love, in sickness and in heart filled hate, no matter his life. But this story of brotherly love isn't just about when a man loves a woman and what's potentially the best Brit flick of the year without a suited 'Kingsman' to boot? And new boy Taron Egerton is on Tom Hardy's 'Secret Service' as one twins other half. Laughing with the enthusiasm of a kid that's made it, Egerton is the man. If you thought it was Hardy's year or even Taron's brothers time, you may just be mistaken. This kid is sick. Add a veteran Time-Lord in Christopher Ecceleston as a D.C. (who? You know the joke!), a visionary uncredited cameo of British marvel and 'A Bronx Tale' Mafioso legend Chazz Palminteri in this London boulevard story and this gangster squad is locked and loaded, but it's Hardy's two smoking barrels that snatch the show! Making director Brian Helgeland the guy like Ritchie all the way down to the sleek soundtrack that even has a modern day mainstream singer thrown back to the vintage, cigarette clubs her smoky sound belongs. The cocked and locked, cocky Cockneys are made magnetic thanks to Hardy's double offering even if these opposites repel. From the way one brother works the room, to the way the other, almost unrecognizably Tom one clears it like a China plate shops next customer has horns. Hardy keeps this imperfect partnership and marriage of family going all the way to the bitter of bitter and twisted ends twice over that reminds you there's nothing cool or clever about these criminals (perhaps one of these characters maddeningly wise "blood is thicker than water" musings of wonder should be the all to true cliche, "there's no honor amongst thieves"). This movie, maybe, but this true story its based on should not be celebrated. As a matter of fact we should only raise our glasses to the players here like the hallmark Hardy in homage, going boldly and brutally back to his Bronson beginnings of character, darkness biopsies. Lets hear it for him. As a matter of fact, make that a double. TIM DAVID HARVEY.