Tom the Obscure

Due to extremely popular demand I shall be writing my next article on the works of Tom Hardy and whether he truly deserves to appear before Tom Hanks when searching “Tom H” on IMDB. My initial argument would be certainly not, but then Tom Hanks has had an illustrious career (from his movie Splash, in which he chats up a mermaid, to Angels and Demons when he takes on God and the Roman Catholic Church!), so such a comparison would be unfair, for now… I hope the two or three readers I have enjoy this thrilling ride we are about to embark on. The Journey of Tom Hardy.

Though not a film with a huge Hardy role [poor euphemistic joke removed], Inception turned Hardy into a fan’s favourite. His portrayal as the witty Englishman did him wonders and perhaps highlighted his speciality as being a supporting actor rather than a leading one. His quirky quips were (I tried so hard to use a third word starting with q, I am something else at scrabble) well-timed and said in the right tone. His role in Inception got Hardy nominated for a BAFTA for Supporting Actor which, I would say, he thoroughly deserved. I have nothing bad to say about his performance in this film, it’s just that the supposed insignificance of his character might suit him, unfortunately. At the present time, his career is as a supporting actor rather than a leading man, but this may change.

With The Dark Knight Rises being one of the few films with membership to the billion-dollar club, joining such amazeballs films as Avatar and a number of Pirates of the Caribbeans, Tom Hardy’s performance as Bane cannot go unnoticed. I call it a performance as opposed to a portrayal because Hardy entertains as a villain, rather than presenting a believable character; but then again isn’t that what comic book films are all about?

It does seem that Bane’s character is underused in the third of Nolan’s Batman remakes, and perhaps the easily fallible face gear he wore ruined whatever dramatic impact his lines were meant to have, replacing it with an almost comic effect that makes people do comic impersonations. (Having said this, I am quite fond of my impression, will play on request). I don’t really count The Dark Knight Rises as a Tom Hardy film as his performance is overshadowed by our anticipation of Bane’s character; a tribute to Heath Ledger’s iconic Joker rather than any inadequacies in Tom Hardy’s performance perhaps.

One thing he did don however, was the physical presence of Bane, and with Hardy being a method actor, he bulked up to an immense stature showing true dedication to his role.

However, this bulking up unfortunately did few wonders for his role in Lawless in which he looked uncomfortable in his underwhelming, beige cardigan.  What followed was a lot of grunts, again to comic effect, that apparently supported this acclaimed performance.  Said grunts exuded laziness on Tom’s (I think we’ve got to the point in our relationship for first names) behalf, or a true dedication to his role as an illiterate, seemingly mute Texan outlaw. I’ll say it was a bit of both, as he almost definitely could, even in his camp beige cardigan, hurt me slightly.

Hardy in his cardy

As far as Hardy’s leads in Bronson and The Warrior are concerned, he still does not present as a powerful, screen-grabbing lead actor. These are films in which his characters are shrouded with darkness, perhaps feigning mystery to them to hide his inability to produce effective monologues. Time and time again Hardy proves he can bulk up to play his role, supposedly giving him the entitlement to his ‘method acting’ label, but, more often than not, his characters are written with such bulk; maybe the casting directors only see Hardy as a big brute who gets the job done? The Andy Carroll of acting?

Well, what have we learnt? Not much I’d say, but let’s pretend this article/blog/masterpiece has been a turning point in our perception of Tom Hardy’s career. Though it would be harsh to say that the beginning to his career has been mediocre, especially with films such as Inception and The Dark Knight Rises in his repertoire, I’d say that just because he is a method actor who has audience-pleasing, comic lines in his films we should not be so quick to jump to the conclusion that Tom Hardy is a great. For now while people say Daniel Day Lewis is an actor’s actor, perhaps Tom Hardy is a supporting actor’s supporting actor, supporting Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor for example.

Hopefully his lead roles in upcoming films could help propel the favourable actor’s career into something as respectful as Tom Hanks’.

Disclaimer: I do actually like Tom Hardy, I think I must be in a bad mood as I got a bad paper cut at work, I know right! Maybe I could get Hardy to play me in my biopic. I’ll give it a think.

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