He has been compared with Brando and called one of the best actors of his generation, there’s pretty much no one like Tom Hardy. While best known for his tough-guy roles he has shown that he’s more than capable of taking on more intimate projects and pays a lot of attention to his craft. Frequently changing his voice and body and to suit his parts, and his natural charisma makes him compulsively watchable. And with his latest movie Capone coming out soon I am going to look back at Tom Hardy’s 5 best roles. And explain what makes these performances stand out from the rest of his work.
Stuart Clive Shorter – Stuart: A Life Backwards
Stuart provides a blueprint for what Tom Hardy would later do with many of his roles. Focusing on every aspect of his performance he reportedly losing nearly 30 pounds for the role; adopted a limp and a slurred voice to play the titular “homeless, sociopathic, junkie“. There’s something brutally honest about Hardy’s portrayal of Stuart. He doesn’t feel Hollywoodized, he feels like a real person. The script also requires Hardy to go to a lot of different places. This results in him being equal parts scary, charming, funny, and disturbing but Hardy pulls it off flawlessly. In lesser hands, Stuart could’ve simply been a one-note sympathy card. But Hardy makes Stuart into a complex, intriguing, and tragic character. For his efforts, Hardy received a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor.
Eames – Inception
Despite working with many great directors throughout his career Christopher Nolan is the director that always gets the best out of Hardy. Unlike many of his other roles here Hardy retains his regular voice and isn’t the center of attention, playing as part of an ensemble cast but he still manages to make a great impression. As Eames, a conman recruited to impersonate people within a dream (essentially riffing on Hardy’s chameleon-like acting persona) Hardy is very fun, bouncing off the other members of the cast with his deadpan humor and effortless charm. This movie proved that Hardy wasn’t just an actor but a movie star too.
Bane – The Dark Knight Rises
Hardy’s most iconic role is perhaps the best encapsulation of him as an actor. He’s more than willing to change his body for his craft (the hulking behemoth of Bane is a world away from Eames and Stuart physically). He likes to experiment with his accents to give his characters a different feel (here Bane has a calm, vaguely Irish/Scottish voice that effectively contrasts with his savage and intimidating actions). He pays incredible attention to his physical performance (despite having his face covered for almost the entire movie we’re always aware of what Bane is thinking and feeling because of Hardy’s great use of body and facial language). And no matter what he’s doing it’s always utterly captivating. The result is a villain unlike any other.
Ivan Locke – Locke
After the action extravaganza of The Dark Knight Rises Hardy made a return to more low-key dramas. Hardy plays Ivan who is journeying from Birmingham to London to solve a crisis, all the while dealing with calls from his friends, family, and co-workers about where he’s going. Locke is perhaps Hardy’s most impressive role. The entire film takes place in a car with only Tom on screen. Meaning he’s confined in a tight space, restricting his movement and he has to carry the entire movie with his performance. Thankfully he pulls it off with gusto. Though his welsh accent wavers his calm delivery works incredibly well to endear a somewhat unsympathetic character to the audience. And his physical performance says so much with so little. Only Tom Hardy could pull off something that daring.
Ronnie/Reggie Kray – Legend
The best thing about Tom Hardy’s portrayal of the notorious twin gangsters is that you never spend any time thinking about the technical side of his performance. You’re completely invested in him. Both roles complement his skills and past triumphs. As Ronnie, Hardy is much more animalistic. An imposing, violent tough guy which clearly recalls his performances as Stuart Shorter, Bronson, and Bane. And as Reggie, we see the same effortlessly cool but dark-edged charisma he showed in Inception and The Drop. And once again Hardy adds a lot of humanity to these characters. Ronnie’s admission to being gay and Reggie’s love/hater relationship with his brother are incredibly effective. Not because of the lines he’s given but because of how he plays them. This is why whenever anyone talks about Legend they do so solely for Hardy’s performance.
Thus ends our list of Tom Hardy’s best performances. Did we miss any out? Please let us know what your favourite Tom Hardy role is and what you think of our selections.