Tom Hardy is one of those rare actors that you just have to watch. Your eye is drawn to him at all times, and he’s simply magnetic on-screen. It’s a combination of him being handsome, but having an interesting and alternative look, and the fact that he’s just a brilliant actor, who will no doubt have shelving units heavy with awards before his career is over. So… why don’t people like him?
Alright, maybe that’s misleading, how about: why don’t more people like him? It seems like everybody I know feels the same way I do, that he’s one of the best actors working today. A lot of other film journalists / bloggers online also feel the same, and frequently say so, and with good reason. Looking through his filmography, there’s not a bad performance in there, and more importantly, there are no two performances that are alike.
The two films I most recently saw him in were Child 44 and The Drop, neither of which I liked very much, but in them, he played a convincing soviet era Russian, and a Brooklyn bartender. He was completely convincing as both and managed to not just held his own but outshone great actors like Gary Oldman and James Gandolfini. And the film he did just before that? The brilliant and hugely underrated Locke, a film set almost entirely inside a car. He’s the only actor you see in the film (a few others contribute their voices via phone calls), and he even has to monologue at some points, and it was one of the most astonishing performances of 2014. This got him a spot on one of Third Act Film’s top 5 performances of the year, and he narrowly missed out on being in the rest of our lists.
He’s even flirted with mainstream success in films like Inception and Lawless, and perhaps most notably as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Following Heath Ledger as the villain in The Dark Knight franchise was no easy task, and I, along with many other people thought he was excellent in the role, perhaps the best thing about that film, even if people still make fun of his voice.
So, with all of that credibility and talent (I haven’t even mentioned how good he is in Bronson, his real breakout role), he’s still not a big star. A lot of people I know, and I’m sure some people reading this might disagree, but that’s because most people I know are big film fans, and know a lot more about that world then the average film goer. I’m sure most people know the name Tom Hardy, and would even recognise him if they were to see him in something, but you only have to look at the box office results of his last few films to know that he’s not a big draw.
Child 44 has made less than $3.5 million (although it’s still in theatres in some markets) The Drop made $18.6 million, Locke made $1.3 million, Lawless is slightly better at $53.6 million, but I’m sure that was still a lot less than the studio would have wanted with all those name actors in it. Yes, he has some hits in his filmography, but to say that Inception or The Dark Knight Rises were successes because of Tom Hardy would be a ridiculous claim.
That might all change this year (or next week) when Mad Max: Fury Road opens up. It’s the first time he’s been the true star of a blockbuster, and it really could make or break his career as a big Hollywood actor. Whatever happens, he’s going to keep working, because he’s just too good not to, but I bet I’m not the only one that wants to see him succeed here, and everywhere else.
What do you think about Tom Hardy? Are you excited for Mad Max: Fury Road? What’s your favourite Tom Hardy performance? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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