List by-Jarrett Leahy
British thespian Tom Hardy is one of the most talented and versatile actors working today. Since his 2001 debut in the famed TV miniseries, Band of Brothers, Hardy has worked with some the best filmmakers around, quickly amassing an accomplished and varied resume. 2014 looks to be another strong year for Hardy with three thematically diverse films, Locke, The Drop, and Child 44, scheduled for release. This week’s Top 6 list takes a look back at the films that made Tom Hardy one of the most sought after actors in the business…
6. Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy (2011) Set during the height of the Cold War, Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy is an espionage thriller about the search for a double agent who has infiltrated MI6, Great Britain’s highest level of covert intelligence. Playing MI6 agent Ricki Tarr, Hardy joins fellow British film stars Gary Oldman, John Hurt, Colin Firth, and Benedict Cumbersnatch to create a tense, multilayered spy thriller.
5. Lawless (2012) Hardy plays Forrest Bunderant, the middle brother and leader of a very successful bootlegging enterprise during Depression-era prohibition. The business and everyone involved is put in jeopardy when the brothers refuse to pay off two new corrupt officials looking for a cut of their illegal operations. Hardy, who exhaustively embodies his character’s backwoods persona, is joined by a gifted cast that includes the likes of Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain (The Help), Guy Pearce (Memento), & Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty). Set in the rural hills of Franklin County, Virginia, Lawless is a dark, violent period piece.
4. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) The final installment of one of the most successful action trilogies in cinema history, Hardy joined forces yet again with visionary filmmaker Christopher Nolan to play Bane, the film’s maniacal and anarchist villain. While some complained that Hardy’s voice was a bit hard to hear at times due to his character’s elaborate facial apparatus, no one can deny that Hardy exemplified the sheer strength and ruthlessness of this unrelenting antagonist.
3. Bronson (2008) Called by some as the A Clockwork Orange for the 21st century, Bronson, a film from divisive filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives) is a riotous and intoxicating bio-pic loosely based on the life of British prisoner Michael Peterson, also known by his alter ego Charles Bronson. Winner of the British Independent Film Award’s Best Actor of 2008, Hardy’s performance is terrifyingly brilliant, perfectly embodying the deranged and irrational behavior that earned Peterson the title of Britain’s Most Dangerous Prisoner. While obviously not for everyone, Bronson is a savage, stylish, one-of-a-kind cinema experience.
2. Inception (2010) Innovative filmmaker Christopher Nolan blew film fans’ minds with the brilliant, labyrinth of a film about group of dream extractors who are hired instead to perform the near impossible task of inception, or breaking into a person’s subconscious in order to plant an idea in their brain. After making a splash with Bronson, Inception truly introduced Hardy to the world as his brash and sarcastic portrayal of master thief/impersonator Eames showed he could easily hold his own among a group of extremely talented actors that included superstar Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ellen Page.
1. Warrior (2011) Based on a true story, Hardy plays Tommy Conlon, an ex-marine tormented by a traumatic past. A former amateur wrestling champion, Tommy reunites with his estranged father and begins training at a local boxing gym to help alleviate some of his mental anguish. One day while working out, Tommy agrees to fill in as a sparring partner for a local Mixed Martial Arts fighter training for SPARTA, a $5 million winner take all MMA tournament. When Tommy’s shocking take down of this prized fighter is captured on video and goes viral, he becomes a surprise invitee to this prestigious tournament, setting in motion a potential match-up with his alienated brother, who, because of his own personal life struggles, desperately finds this tournament to be his last chance. Warrior is a fantastic film with two outstanding performances from Hardy and Joel Edgerton. It’s still frustrating that in 2010, David O’ Russell’s boxing film The Fighter received so much Oscar love while only a year later the far superior Warrior was all but ignored, only receiving one nomination for Nick Nolte’s absorbing supporting performance. Warrior is a powerful and genuinely moving drama that easily ranks right up with the greatest sports films of all time.-JL