5. The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)
In Christopher Nolan’s final installment of his epic Batman films, Hardy plays a masked terrorist named Bane who forces Batman to come out of hiding and fight a battle he may not be able to win. Nolan was able to maintain the high level expectation of the loyal fans of the franchise with an innovative and thrilling story that’s genuinely grand and mesmerizing.
Hardy’s Bane is as epic as the film itself. With a deep and unrecognizable voice, Hardy’s take on the former member of the League of Shadows is probably one of the most memorable super villain characters in any comic book movie. Putting on muscles and pounds for the part, he is menacing, scary, and very convincing – a signature Hardy trait. It is a jaw dropping, ambitious film with a satisfying conclusion to a generation defying trilogy.
4. Warrior (Gavin O’ Connor, 2011)
In this film directed by Gavin O’ Connor, Tom Hardy plays Tommy Conlon, an ex-marine who went home and enlists his father, Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte) a former alcoholic, as his trainer for the biggest winner-takes-all mixed martial arts fight in history.
The film also stars Joel Edgerton as Brendan Conlon, Tommy’s older brother, a former MMA fighter-turned teacher struggling to keep his family’s finances afloat. The brothers have different lives and are training separately for the same tournament. In an astonishing and dramatic turn of events, they’re both forced to face each other in the ring in the most soaring, emotional, and unforgettable climax in any fight movie.
Hardy, Edgerton, and Nolte, all gave out a powerful, grounded performance as an estranged family working their efforts to keep each other close and protected. A film about learning to let go packed with a story of pure heart, Warrior is a film that you won’t expect to be hugely important for all the right reasons.
3. The Drop (Michael R. Roskam, 2014)
Hardy plays a Bob, a man who found himself trapped in a robbery gone wrong in this smartly written crime drama directed by Michael R. Roskam that also stars the late and incredible James Gandolfini. The Drop follows a bartender named Bob through a series of funneling of cash to gangsters that happens in underground Brooklyn bars. With Bob’s cousin, Marv (Gandolfini) closely monitoring the scheme, a robbery that went wrong sets the town in motion and made investigators dig deep into the town’s past.
With a powerful performance from the cast, including Noomi Repace, The Drop is a smart, simple, gangster film with unpredictability and surprises that ends on high impact. Hardy’s quiet nature mixed with Gandolfini’s controlling character made the film a classic example of having so little and giving you a lot chew on up until the end.
2. Locke (Steven Knight, 2013)
Tom Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a successful construction director who made one fatal mistake that caused him everything in his life. Shot entirely in a riveting car ride, Hardy has no one to act with but voices on the phone. Written and directed by Steven Knight, Hardy’s performance is nothing more than emotional, compelling, and moving.
It’s a one-man show and Hardy’s a tour de force in this film. The film has no dull moment because the audience is hanging on to every decision that his character makes. It’s like a film within a film – Knight traps his audience inside one place, circling around a man who is himself trapped.
1. Bronson (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2008)
The scene opens with Tom Hardy, unrecognizably bald, mustached, and bulging with muscles introducing himself as Charles Bronson, penned as the ‘most violent criminal in Britain’. All his life he wanted to be famous, his character says, and the film would continue to recount Bronson’s violent life as a criminal locked away in a solitary confinement.
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, Hardy gave a ground breaking and startling performance as a disturbed and very dark man. Gaining almost 42 pounds for the role, this is one of Hardy’s early exposures to a wider audience.
His gripping and psychotic portrayal of this misguided man, made it hilarious at times to watch. It is one of those films that let the people decide whether Bronson was really born insane or was it because of the things that occurred in his life that made him the way he is. Part dark comedy, part drama, it’s a thrilling movie with unsettling themes and content.
Author Bio: Krisha Dula is currently a Digital Copywriter in an Advertising Agency. She has always wanted to be a writer ever since she was 10 years old. She loves movies and counts Johnny Depp as her favorite actor, and Sam Mendes and Alfonso Cuaron as her favorite directors. In her downtime, She read, write, watch movies and the National Geographic Channel.