The Australian gangster film, to be honest, is pretty much a knock off of it’s English cousins, except that it has even more swearing, and possibly even more corrupt cops.
The Hard Word opens in the Long Bay Correctional Facility in Sydney, New South Wales. The three Twentyman brothers, Dale (Guy Pearce), Mal (Damien Richardson), and Shane (Joel Edgerton) have been is prison for two years, but after some dodgy legal practices and some bribes by their Lawyer, Frank (Robert Taylor), the boys are released early.
On their first day on the outside the boys are at it again. Dale dresses as a cop; Mal as a parking meter inspector; and Shane and a car window washer (you know the type that try to wash your car windows while your stopped at a traffic light). Their target is an armoured car making a delivery of cash to a bank. The heist goes without a hitch – no one is hurt – and the Twentyman boys make off with the armoured car and take it to a pre-arranged meeting place in a warehouse.
The mastermind behind the heist was Frank. Now Frank is not just a criminal mastermind and a lawyer – he also a bit of a cad. He has been diddling Dales wife, Carrol (Rachel Griffiths), while Dale has been inside. This is to be the boys last job though. Now they have some money, they will each go their separate ways and go straight.
But first things first. The cash must be divvied up. The police are in on the heist, and two officers come to the warehouse to collect their split. Then they take the Twentyman brothers with them to the police station. This is an old trick they they have done before. The corrupt police officers say that they have been interviewing the boys all day, so their is no way that they could have participated in the robbery.
Well that it in theory! In fact, Frank has double crossed them. It has been a set up all along. The Twentyman’s are identified and arrested and sent back to Long Bay to do a little more hard time.
But this extra detention is another of Frank’s ploys. He wants to soften the boys up, because he has one last BIG job for the brothers to do for him. It is down in Melbourne on the first Tuesday in November – the day they run the Melbourne Cup.
After the horse race, all the bookies come together at a central location for a piss-up and to count their days takings. With a little inside help, Frank plans to rob the bookies and pull in between ten and twenty million dollars. Of course, in this type of film, nobody can be trusted – particularly Frank. But the heist ‘almost’ goes to plan. The Twentyman brothers manage to get hold of the loot, but a few other people who were involved in the heist do not want to play nicely and share.
I found The Hard Word to be very entertaining, but if you look at the characters and story too closely, you’ll realise you’ve seen it all before. Every violent robbery movie cliché is being played out on the screen. But that is not necessarily a bad thing if you like watching these types of films, like I do. Those seeking originality and a few unusual twists could find themselves disappointed.