Tom Hardy jumps ship from DC to Marvel to take the eponymous role in Ruben Fleischer’s sci-fi drama Venom, which is set to kickstart Sony’s superhero universe. The plot follows investigative reporter Eddie Brock (Hardy) who attempts to expose the corruption within corporations. He sets his journalistic sights upon scientist Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) who is CEO of the Life Foundation research facility. Unfortunately, his daring methods cause a rift in his relationship with fiancée Anne (Michelle Williams) who works as an attorney for the bioengineering conglomerate. Whilst digging deeper into Drake’s controversial experiments, Brock becomes infected by an alien parasite that becomes his deadly alter-ego.
Visionary filmmaker Christopher Nolan has carved a career out of writing and directing imaginative movies, telling mind-bending tales in a way that only he can. His latest feature marks a departure of sorts as he turns his attention to World War II for action-drama Dunkirk, telling the story of the Operation Dynamo evacuation in 1940. As Allied soldiers including Tommy (Fionn Whitehead), Gibson (Aneurin Barnard) and Alex (Harry Styles) are trapped on the beach to await their fate from surrounding Nazi forces, fighter pilots Farrier (Tom Hardy) and Collins (Jack Lowden) provide cover from the skies. Meanwhile, mariner Mr Dawson (Mark Rylance) along with son Peter (Tom Glynn-Carney) and his friend George (Barry Keoghan) embark on a brave civilian rescue mission.
The visionary director Alejandro González Iñárritu has been an Academy favourite now for some time and after the huge success of his last film, he again presents an Oscar frontrunner in hunting drama ‘The Revenant’, loosely adapted from Michael Punke’s novel of the same name. Leonardo DiCaprio takes the leading role as frontiersman Hugh Glass, who embarks on a fur trading expedition alongside John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) and their leader Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson). When events take a drastic turn for the worse for Glass, he uses survival instincts and will power to exact revenge on those who have wronged him.
London gangsters Ronald and Reginald Kray and the notoriety associated with them became ingrained into British culture following their criminal activities in the nineteen-sixties, and up to now their most notable film incarnation was in 1990 when Spandau Ballet brothers Martin and Gary Kemp took on the roles of the vicious twins. Putting them on the big screen once again is award-winning screenwriter and director Brian Helgeland, with Tom Hardy starring as not just one, but both of the Kray twins in an incredible double performance. When Reggie finds love with sweet and innocent Frances (Emily Browning) just as Ronnie is released from prison, everything appears to be going their way. However, with a rival gang fronted by Charlie Richardson (Paul Bettany) up against them in a battle for power and Detective Nipper Reid (Christopher Eccleston) tracking their every move, how long can they stay on top?
Telling a familiar, true story can be a challenging, restricting task and while Helgeland’s effort has style and swagger in abundance, it falls foul to a mediocre script and tonally imbalanced narrative. Choosing to miss out the brothers boxing background for the most part and barely touching upon their family dynamics, there is a clear lack of focus or angle in the storytelling, towing the line between relationship drama and a straight up mobster movie. It tries desperately to get the Guy Ritchie formula in combining brutal violence with dark humour, but falls short of its own high ambitions. Accomplished cinematographer Dick Pope works his magic in creating a glossy, nostalgic yet authentic atmosphere but many of the visually interesting scenes are let down by a paint-by-numbers soundtrack that wants to hold the viewers hand as we are led through the typical highs and lows of living dangerously.
As two part acting performances go, Tom Hardy’s duel portrayal is as good as I’ve ever seen. After the first couple of scenes, you’d be forgiven for forgetting altogether that he is both as he plays them so differently from each other. Admittedly, it appears there are personality embellishments and at times they appear caricature-like in their mannerisms, but his screen presence and sheer talent goes a long way to saving the film from complete disaster. Emily Browning impresses as well as Frances, given the fact that her character arc is less of an arc and more of a spike followed by a sharp decline. Her long-suffering wife voiceover is riddled with cliché, as if it was plucked out of a dodgy Martina Cole novel, but despite this she brings charm and glamour to the role. Stand outs among an underdeveloped supporting cast are rising stars Taron Egerton and Charley Palmer Rothwell who form Ronnie’s fearsome entourage. Their characters and the complicated friendship they had with their complex master could have been a fascinating avenue for the film to explore further but sadly this was overlooked, and Ronnie’s key responsibility in this retelling was to bring psychotic comedy to proceedings.
For viewers who know little about the ‘legend’ of Ronnie and Reggie, this sophisticated retelling is both informative and entertaining but fails to delve into grittier ground, and in doing so glorifies the twins and makes allowances for their inexcusable actions. Helgeland’s piece is a celebration of their ill repute which would be fine if it wasn’t all true. As a genre film, it is slick yet stereotypical, but in its favour boasts two towering tour-de-force turns from Tom Hardy. ‘Legend’ offers a solid platform to showcase one of, if not the best, actor in the industry. Like Reggie’s trademark put down, his performance will lure you in with an inviting smile and a cigarette before knocking you for six.
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After a two decade break in the series, madcap Australian director George Miller has revisited the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max with new instalment ‘Fury Road’. Now with a bigger budget to throw at the project, his vision has the scope to reach new heights, and on this occasion Tom Hardy takes the titular role of Max Rockatansky, following in the footsteps of Mel Gibson. The story of survival takes place on desert wasteland in the aftermath of nuclear war, and ex-police officer Max is captured by a gang known as the War Boys, led by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), and is used primarily as universal blood donor. When Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) rebels against the regime, driving her tanker truck off-route with five of Joe’s hand-picked wives, a chase ensues to retrieve them, and sick War Boy Nux (Nicholas Hoult) also heads out in hot pursuit of the escapees, taking Max along for the ride as his own personal human blood bag.
Structurally, the plot of Fury Road is essentially one long chase sequence, and the pace is consistently exhilarating. The infrequent breaks in the tempo allow for the minimalistic script to come into play, with conversations dispersed sparingly across the intense desert drive. Because of the lack of dialogue, little to no time is taken to offer any sort of detailed context, apart from a brief spiel in the opening scene, so the viewer really has no option but to strap in and enjoy the film for what it is, and as an immersive cinematic experience, it is unparalleled in terms of the action and special effects. Hardy and Theron are equally sublime in what they do with their performances, both oozing screen presence and heroic prowess. Hoult is also impressive in an unrecognisable turn, his character arguably being one of the more complex in the film, with an ever swaying moral compass and but an immoveable aspiration to be taken to Valhalla.
Not failing to live up to what the title suggests, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is as mad as road movies come, and Miller’s creativity and vivid imagination as a filmmaker comes to the forefront, exploding onto the big screen with vim, vigour and vibrancy. In keeping with the key themes and style of the previous versions in the late seventies and early eighties, this is not so much a reimagining of the franchise but a reawakening, and the Road Warrior is rejuvenated for the 21st century and giving Tom Hardy another string to his acting bow going stark raving Max as a modern-day action hero, albeit one that exists in a dystopian land.
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Joseph Stalin-era Soviet Union was cold, callous and colourless at least according to Swedish filmmaker Daniel Espinosa who directs mystery thriller ‘Child 44’, based on Tom Rob Smith’s best-selling novel of the same name. Tom Hardy leads an impressive top-billed cast as disgraced military cop Leo Demidov, who independently heads up an enquiry into a series of vicious child murders that are ignored by a corrupt government. With his wife Raisa (Noomi Rapace) accused of espionage and colleague Vasili (Joel Kinnaman) proving a problem at every turn, he turns to an experienced General Nesterov (Gary Oldman) for assistance in his manhunt, resulting in an intense investigative film enhanced by strong acting and crisp cinematography.