Sunday, July 06, 2003

The Hard Word (IMDB) (Netflix)
An Aussie noir, with Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential, Memento) and Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under). Pearce is one of three brothers who have made a not-very-lucrative career out of robbing banks and armored cars, and the next big score is the race track, with the help of a shady lawyer and some crooked cops, and Griffiths is his less-than-faithful wife. There's something about the ponies that attracts the ne'er-do-wells and the screenwriters.

It's an earthy, quirky goulash of a story, hitting a lot of different notes—ruthlessness, fecklessness, dark comedy and betrayal—while maintaining its footing, a difficult trick. Pearce seems to relish being a scruffy, feverish lout for a change, while Griffiths is as unsympathetic a soulmate as you could find. There was one plot point that now seems to have been a bit of a cheat, but otherwise a decent film about, as a buddy just summed up, "guys who think they're a lot smarter than they really are."