With the Capone releasing last week on VOD, the film hasn’t had the greatest reception, as has become common for Josh Trank films. However, it’s a universal opinion that Tom Hardy’s performance is the best part of the film. This isn’t a review for Capone, as I have yet to see the film, but I thought it a was a good opportunity to take a look back at Hardy’s career and talk about his best performances. Hardy has spent the last decade becoming one of the more chameleon actors working in Hollywood.
He has tried his hand at action films, comic book movies, romantic comedies, sports dramas, dramas, period pieces, sci-fi thrillers and war films, and he transforms into each character with unparalleled success. This won’t be a ranking, as performances are more nuanced and therefore more difficult to rank than the film as a whole. Instead, I just decided to list the films in release date order. Furthermore this list is not judgment of the quality nor an endorsement of the films, as we are just looking at Hardy’s performance.
Charles Bronson/Michael Peterson in Bronson (2008). I haven’t actually seen this film, but I’ve heard fantastic things about it and Hardy in it. However, since I can’t offer my own opinion of it, I cant put this one on the official list.
Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Hardy was menacing and calculated. His portrayal gave the depth to the character that he deserves from his impact on the comics. The voice he chose was a bit off-putting and too often mocked for me to include.
John Fitzgerald in The Revanant (2015). Tom’s portrayal of the story’s antagonist is great. He even earned his only Academy Award nomination for this film, but unfortunately he is so over shadowed by Leonardo DiCaprio and the bear that I don’t find this performance as memorable. I actually forgot he was in the film until I began preparing this article.
Eames in Inception (2010)
Hardy is part of a brilliant ensemble in Christopher Nolan’s Sci-fi thriller. Hardy had such great chemistry with so much of the cast he would later reunite with Nolan, DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon Levitt. He is able to play into his comedic timing and has the opportunity to show some of his physicality. He is not the lead of the film, but he is a great accent piece to of the greater whole. Hardy was hardly a well known commodity at the time, but he commands the screen while sharing it with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Tommy Conlon in Warrior (2011)
Unfortunately this film is one of the more unrated and oft forgotten films in Hardy’s filmography. A heart wrenching sports drama featuring two estranged brothers as they conquer all odds and face their demons. Hardy is a man of few words in this film and he is absolutely brilliant. The film follows Joel Edgerton as Conlon’s school teacher brother, but though Hardy is more of a glorified side character, he 100% steals every scene he’s in. playing a former US marine turned mixed martial artist. IF you haven’t seen it, watch it today and thank me later.
Ivan Locke in Locke (2013)
Hardy has made a name for himself in his more mainstream films, but this may be my favorite of his performances. I missed this film upon its release, and just recently watched it. If you’re not familiar with this project, it follows Hardy’s titular Ivan Locke making a series of phone calls on a 90 minute car ride as his life begins to spiral out of control. Typically Hardy relies on his physicality and natural charisma. Not in this film however. It’s a more subtle and quiet performance that evokes significant emotion from both hardy and the audience. Hardy commands your attention for the full run time film which is impressive considering he is on screen for its entirety.
Max Rockatansky in Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
This film that truly unlocked Hardy’s potential as a true action star. It launched him into the stratosphere of bankable actors capable of leading a big budget blockbuster. Similar to his character in Warrior, Mad Max isn’t a role with significant dialogue however it is his most physically demanding role. Though he is a man of few words, he is able to transform an already iconic action hero into a modern film icon.
Eddie Brock/Venom in Venom (2018)
Love it or hate it, you cannot deny Tom Hardy was brilliant in Venom. Though he is a far departure from the villainous depiction of the character in the comics. His portrayal of the sarcastic and arrogant anti-hero works. He also lent his voice to the symbiote. Hardy’s ability to interact with himself is easily the best part of the film. His performance transforms the film from a mediocre comic book movie to a fun “buddy cop” bromantic comedy. While the film can’t decide what tone it wants to take, Hardy stays constant.
Have you seen Capone yet? What are your favorite Tom Hardy roles? Let us know. Follow us on twitter to join the conversation and be sure to download our app to stay up to date on all of Tom Hardy’s upcoming films.