The Hard Word (2002) / Crime-Drama

MPAA Rated: R for strong violence, language, sexuality and brief drug use
Running Time: 102 min.

Cast: Guy Pearce, Robert Taylor, Joel Edgerton, Rachel Griffiths, Damien Richardson, Rhondda Findleton
Director: Scott Roberts

Screenplay: Scott Roberts
Review published May 9, 2003

With so many heist films coming out just in the last 3 or 4 years alone, it would seem like a given that any new attempts at the genre be something completely new or different if it is to merit our time watching it.  Sadly, The Hard Word, while certainly having its moments, just doesn't have anything new to bring to the table, and ends up being a rather unremarkable experience in the end.

Pearce, Edgerton and Richardson play a trio of Australian bank-robbing siblings, currently serving a sentence together in prison.  All three get their release, only to be hired to perform another gig schemed by their disreputable lawyer.  Alas, things don't go completely smoothly, and the trio gets "caught," but the lawyer still needs them for another, much more risky heist, but one which goes against their personal code of ethics.

About the only thing that makes The Hard Word stand out from the plethora of bank-job thrillers that came before it is the thick, sometimes unintelligible (unless you're an Aussie) accents of the main players.  Although set in current times, there is a retro look to some of the wardrobe and feel of the action, a throwback to some of the more character driven crime dramas of the Seventies.  While this isn't the prettiest cast one would hope for, they all perform quite well in their respective roles, giving the story much more flavor and depth than it would garner with an average ensemble.

The Hard Word makes for an occasionally interesting diversion, but is rather stale much of the time, especially when you compare it to some of the flashier thrillers done in a similar style of late (Ocean's Eleven, The Italian Job).  If you are a fan of Pearce or just a junkie for gritty crime flicks, it will be worth the price of a rental.  For most others, it's a thriller which desperately needed more thrills, and far more frills, if it were to have a chance to compete with the new breed of heist films of a much more exciting variety.

Qwipster's rating:

2003 Vince Leo