The 10 Best Tom Hardy Movies
The 10 Best Tom Hardy Movies: Born Edward Thomas Hardy, Tom Hardy is a name we see in most blockbuster films of the past decade. He started his career with minor roles such as SPC Lance Twombly in Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down in 2001. But 9 years later, it was his outing as Eames in Inception which garnered him international recognition and roles in major franchises like The Dark Knight and Mad Max.
Featuring prominently in the crime drama genre, this versatile actor has even dabbled in a musical thriller (London Road) and a romantic comedy film (This Means War). He has received multiple accolades such as The British Independent Film Award for Bronson and Legend, The Los Angeles Film Critics Award for Locke. He has also been nominated for an Academy Award.
However, he hasn’t restricted himself to cinema and television but has dabbled in theatre too. For his services to drama, this 42-year-old actor has been awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
Away from acting he has been appointed as the Brand Ambassador to the Prince’s Trust (a charity founded by Prince Charles to help those aged 11-30 who are struggling at life and school and face exclusion due to such struggles) and this isn’t just a big name appointment, but it is someone who can actually make a difference for Tom Hardy had addiction problems in the early part of the previous decade.
From a ruthless frontiersman to a World War 2 fighter pilot, from a dream architect and a deranged convict right to his outstanding turn as an ethically sound yet conflicted man and a stupendous turn as a pair of twins, Tom Hardy has managed to transform his physique, appearance and demeanor for every single role and give audiences a chance to witness him portray a different character rather than see him as the same man cast in different roles.
He has managed to deliver stellar performances in both commercial as well as critical films and win over critics and audiences alike. Here are 10 of my favorite Tom Hardy films:
10. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
This was yet another movie where Tom Hardy manages to sound different as he adopts an Australian accent for George Miller’s return to the Mad Max franchise. In the dystopian wasteland setting Tom Hardy plays Max Rockastansky, a cop who suffers from PTSD.
In Max’s own words “I am the one who runs from both the living and the dead. Hunted by scavengers. Haunted by those I could not protect. So I exist in this Wasteland. A man reduced to a single instinct: survive.”
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Captured to serve as a ‘blood bag’ to the ‘warrior boys’, Max manages to break free during a high-speed chase. He then joins forces with Imperator Furiosa and ‘the breeders’ as they attempt to flee to the Green Place and escape from the autocratic Immortan Joe and his sadistic way of life.
Despite being the titular character, he could have been easily overshadowed by Charlize Theron’s mesmerizing Furiosa, the abundance of visual effects or even, the cool fire guitar dude. Tom Hardy has barely any lines in this film, yet he manages to stand out and without any cool masks, or makeup. He is the human is the dystopian world and all he wants to do is survive, without any attachments for he is haunted by the ones he was attached to and failed to protect.
9. Inception (2010)
In Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster about dream espionage and inception (planting an idea inside a target’s subconscious) Tom Hardy plays the identity forger Eames. It is his skill set which is used inside the dream levels to mentally drive Fisher towards where inception can be performed on him and have an impact on his subconscious.
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Eames’ character oozes charm and wit. He is a smooth-talking man who is one of the few people who believe that Inception can be done. “It’s not impossible, it’s just bloody tough,” is what he says. This character has those one-liners that bring a smirk onto your face in this otherwise brainy film. Despite this, he isn’t a slouch in the action department and holds his own in the first and third levels of the dream.
When I first saw this film I immediately recognized Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Caine, Ken Watanabe, and Marion Cotillard. I didn’t, however, know who this smooth-talking dreamer was and had to rely on the internet to find out. This was the first time I paid attention to the name of Tom Hardy and didn’t have to say, “who?” When I hear or read his name anywhere.
8. Dunkirk (2017)
Christopher Nolan’s war thriller Dunkirk is a story of the battle between the Germans and the Allied forces. This story is told on three fronts with three different timelines that converge magnificently. This film is anchored by its stellar supporting cast of veterans. Each of who anchor the film from their front.
The talented British actor Mark Rylance brings forward the narrative from the sea, stalwart Kenneth Branagh commands his narrative as the Royal Navy Commander Bolton and Tom Hardy drives the story forward as the fighter pilot Farrier.
Farrier’s face is covered by a mask for the majority of the film. An assault by enemy dive bombers shatters Farrier’s fuel gauge and leaves the squad leaderless before Farrier assumes command and continues to fend off dive bombers with no idea how much fuel he has left.
It is only at the end when Farrier lands his plane and takes his mask off where we get a range of emotions like resignation, adrenaline, and acceptance from this pilot who is the reason the evacuation from Dunkirk is a resounding success. He made the ultimate sacrifice to save thousands of other lives and ensured that Operation Dunkirk was a resounding success. His fate is left up to the viewers’ interpretation.
7. The Drop (2013)
This film has a simple story that could be a turnoff. But this simple story is elevated by its stellar cast including Noomi Rapace, Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini (of The Sopranos fame) in his final film appearance.
Tom Hardy stars as Bob, a bartender at his cousin Marv’s bar. Marv’s name is still on the door, but he sold out to the mob a decade ago resulting in the bar being used as a drop point. Tom Hardy gives us a performance where he communicates with us not only through his dialogues but also with his eyes and facial expressions.
Bob is the type of person we can relate to. Like Bob, we just want to keep our heads down, toe the line and live our lives. If we see anything happen, we look the other way as it is not the movies where what we see awakens that dormant socially responsible self we had been conditioned to repress.
This is a model citizen and we believe that right until the last 20 minutes of the film where we see Bob’s dark side emerge. He reveals that he was responsible for killing a man over a decade ago and whips out a gun to kill the man who claimed credit for it.
This terrifies you, yet it does match with the image of Bob we see throughout the film which is to just ensure his survival and behave in a manner that goes under the radar so that it will seem like things just happen around him.
6. Legend (2015)
This biopic on the Kray twins focuses on the life of Reggie and Ronald in the London underworld scene in the 60s. The film seems quite confusing, perhaps that is a result of us having been spoilt by Martin Scorsese’s period gangster dramas. What does allow most people to power through and watch this film in its entirety is the acting master class by Tom Hardy. He essays the part of both twins with perfection and distinction.
I usually admire Tom Hardy for giving me the privilege of witnessing a different character in every single film but here I get to witness him portray two different characters in the same movie which is why it makes the list.
5. Bronson (2008)
Born as Michael Peterson, he is better known as Charles Bronson which is the fighting name he adopted. This real-life individual who has been dubbed as, “the most violent prisoner in Britain,”, and “Britain’s most notorious inmate” is brought to life by a startling physical transformation by the then largely unknown Tom Hardy.
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Bronson is a psychotic man who sees his time in prison as a hotel stay where he can make his name. The very thought of parole demoralizes him. Bronson was initially sentenced to seven years in prison but ended up serving almost thirty years at the time of the film’s release. Over twenty-six of those were in solitary due to his violent nature.
Tom Hardy’s Bronson serves as narrator and vaudeville which at times reminded me of Joel Grey’s emcee from ‘Cabaret.’ The unpredictability of that character is explored in the stints where Bronson is in prison. Hardy’s performance as Bronson comes across as a mixture of subtle and campy which helps the audience truly understand the conflicted nature of this man who doesn’t ever wish to leave prison.
The real Charles Bronson who had been initially displeased with Tom Hardy being cast to showcase his life to the world was won over by the performance and after being granted permission to watch the film said, “No other actor on the planet could have portrayed me any better than Tom Hardy did, He is a genius!”
4. Venom (2018)
Venom is the complex anti-hero from the Marvel Comics which was making a return to the big screen 11 years after its first rather underwhelming outing in Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 3.
This film was a CGI alien fight mess but the acting by Tom Hardy is what ensured it wasn’t a complete debacle. He plays both Eddie Brock (human) and Venom (parasite). As a human, he is a reporter who makes his career by exposing people and wants to continue doing the same even against his boss’ express orders when interviewing a powerful and corrupt man. As Venom he has an appetite for frozen food, raw lobsters and humans. What was crucial for the film and for a franchise to be established was for Tom Hardy to successfully find a meeting point between the human and the parasite.
The scenes of Tom Hardy’s Eddie interacting with Tom Hardy’s Venom are fun at times. I loved the scenes where Venom who has just found a host in Eddie tries to emerge and leaves him clueless and apologetic about his bizarre behavior. In the first one, he enters the restaurant where his ex and her current fiancé are dining and begins snatching food off plates, slapping people and finally ends up climbing into the fish tank and proceeding to consume a live lobster. In the second scene, he somehow manages to defeat the thugs who have been sent to take him. Both these scenes are where ‘Venom’ takes control of Eddie. Tom Hardy doesn’t seem to be acting here but gives the impression that he is being controlled. There is a restraint and a moment of stunned surprise on his face and in his eyes, for a split second before he once again is taken over by Venom gave me the impression that he isn’t acting, but is being controlled by the ‘Imperius Curse’ and is trying to fight it albeit unsuccessfully.
3. Locke (2013)
It is difficult to care about a single character in a film having only one character unless it has an engaging script and score, masterful editing and most importantly, a strong acting performance. This is the sort of film designed to enable the audience to have a voyeuristic peek into a person’s life. Locke, which is set inside the car of Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) who is a construction foreman and site manager, focuses on the life, motivations and inner conflict of the titular character as he is driving. These are presented before us in a series of telephonic conversations which takes the film forward.
Through these, we understand his character and despite not knowing the other side of the coin we empathize with Locke. This is only possible as Tom Hardy treats us to a range of emotions and successfully makes the audience overcome their voyeuristic intentions and care about his character. Right from an exhausted sigh, to frustration and inner conflict as he struggles to find the words to inform his wife of his infidelity, Tom Hardy nails this role to perfection and makes you wish that this film did not end so soon.
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2. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
In the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Tom Hardy portrays, Bane- the villain with super strength who manages to draw Bruce Wayne out of his self-imposed retirement.
In the first hour, Bane has just under 10 minutes of screen time, however, his physical transformation and the way he carries himself makes you buy into the idea that he is calm and in complete control.
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Bane is a foe so dangerous that you just do not want to be on his wrong side. This imposing villain just places a hand on John Daggett’s shoulder and asks him if he thinks he is in control. Whilst watching this scene I felt Daggett’s heart go cold with fear.
Tom Hardy bulked up for the role of the mercenary Bane and is incredible in both of his fights with Batman. The one in the sewers after Catwoman’s betrayal saw him fight and be in complete control, without losing a breath. The audience reaction as they saw Batman fruitlessly pummel that immovable object was reflected in the lifeless stares of Bane’s henchmen as they surveyed the fight from the ramparts. In the final confrontation, when Batman displaces Bane’s mask and causes him to endure stupendous pain resulting in Bane transforming into a combat Robot. Here Bane’s aggression seems controlled and he isn’t swinging himself off his feet.
Bane is a terrorist who manages to show us the effects on Gotham after it’s citizens learned the truth about Harvey Dent, The Dent Act, and the lie that it was built on. He managed to elevate Batman in the eyes of those who weren’t convinced with The Dark Knight’s sacrifice at the end of the previous film.
Tom Hardy had two options here. He had to better the cartoony Bane seen in the panned 1997 film, ‘Batman vs. Robin’, or he had to come close to matching Heath ledger’s iconic turn as The Joker in the previous film. He chose the latter and gave us a chilling performance as the muscled mercenary who broke the Bat’s back.
1. The Revenant (2015)
Intense would come across as a word just thrown around to showcase one’s vocabulary if it were to be the word used to describe Tom Hardy’s performance in this movie. “That should be the word used to describe Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance,” is what the argument would be. However, after watching this film carefully one could be persuaded to use that very word to describe John Fitzgerald. For this film, Tom Hardy adopted a drawl that can be commonly heard in American Western films.
John Fitzgerald is a ruthless and shrewd man who in his mind believes in his actions however despicable or selfish they may be. Though his actions appear to be antagonistic, his performance could even convince a fair few to tweak that thought about him for they appeal to the natural human instinct.
It takes an antagonist to make the audience savor the struggle of the protagonist. Fitzgerald is the reason that Hugh Glass dragged himself across the cold and frigid wilderness. The desire to see Glass catch up with Fitzgerald to exact revenge is elevated due to a combination of Glass’s struggle and the man who ensured that he did it. Without a villain like Fitzgerald, would Glass’ almighty struggle against the elements and victory been that sweet?
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Among Upcoming movies of Tom Hardy, there is Fonzo, in which he will play Al Capone. He will reprise his roles in the sequels; Venom 2 and Mad Max: The Wasteland.