New York Times - 06/13/2003
"...Amusingly gamy....It enjoys the asset of a grimy, slightly mildewy atmosphere....It also offers a few tart rip-off scenes and a performance of back-alley bravura by Guy Pearce in the lead..."
Box Office - 07/01/2003
"...With actors as commanding as the extraordinary Guy Pearce and Rachel Griffiths leading the cast, this Australian import's emphasis on strong, affectionately drawn characters gives it an emotional pull rare for the genre..."
USA Today - 06/20/2003
"...THE HARD WORD finds something new in the prison and heist genres....Writer/director Scott Roberts spices the mix by tossing in two extraordinarily compelling women..."
Los Angeles Times - 06/20/2003
"...THE HARD WORD interests us in ways we don't expect. It has a mordant sense of humor and gift for character and incident that has attracted two of Australia's best actors -- Guy Pearce and Rachel Griffiths..."
Total Film - 04/01/2004
"[The film] stands out thanks to Guy Pearce's presence."
Sight and Sound - 09/01/2004
"Roberts' macho heist thriller is strikingly shot..."
Uncut - 09/01/2004
"Pearce and Griffiths are in top hear....Bitter, tough and funny."
In this action-comedy directed by Scott Roberts, a trio of Melbourne prison rats works with a crime boss on the outside, trying to pull off one last scheme to satisfy the man so he'll spring them from the lockup. The Twentyman brothers consist of leader Dale (Guy Pearce), ex-butcher Mal (Damien Richardson), and shadowy Shane (Joel Edgerton). Shane is the baby of the bunch, and the star of the show, who keeps every moment real with his utterly candid way of telling it like it is--providing for a string of priceless one-liners. On the outside, sleazy lawyer Frank (Robert Taylor) wheels and deals, all the while using his considerable financial charms to win over Dale's wife, Carol (Rachel Griffiths as the prototypical tart). A botched bank robbery organized by Frank sets the brothers off on a crooked course, and when they realize that they've been set up, they scramble to claim their promised freedom at any cost. Some hilarious revenge sequences involve a grosser-than-gross food poisoning gimmick, and the entire film is punctuated by wonderful cat-and-mouse chase games with Frank. Though THE HARD WORD is a tough, rigorous crime caper flick, underlying its action is clear comedic intent, albeit a dark and mischievous brand of humor. In his directorial debut, Roberts has crafted a fast-moving and highly entertaining film with its strengths lying in character development and a uniquely quirky script.
This film screened in the SXSW 2003 film festival in Austin, Texas.