Tom Hardy's career trajectory is still trending upwards. Co-starring in another Christopher Nolan collaboration, Dunkirk, and with the recent news that Hardy has agreed to play the Marvel super-villain, Venom, the future looks bright for this British acting talent. Tom Hardy is a personal favorite of mine and I'm thrilled to devote May's movie list of the month to honoring his spectacular career (April's list).
Honorable Mention: Legend, Locke, Max Max: Fury Road and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
#5. The Drop (2014)
Michael R. Roskam's The Drop will forever be remembered as the late James Gandolfini's last film. This slow-burning crime drama, adapted from a Dennis Lehane short story. follows a bartender (Hardy) at the center of a bar robbery in the underworld of Brooklyn's mob scene. Hardy molds an emotionally broad character whose maneuvered development truly stands as the film's most impressive component.
#4. Warrior (2011)
While I had certainly seen earlier work from Tom Hardy before I had the wonderful opportunity to savor Gavin O'Connor's phenomenal sports drama, Warrior, it was this defining role that opened my eyes to the actor's unique abilities. Hardy stars as Tommy Conlon, an AWOL Marine who returns to his troubled hometown to train for a multi-million-dollar MMA tournament where he's pitted against his estranged brother (Joel Edgerton). Warrior will always carry the "MMA Movie" stigma, but it's remarkable onscreen work from Hardy, Nick Nolte (who was Nominated for the role) and Edgerton that place this sports drama into the upper echelon of its genre.
#3. Lawless (2012)
Hardy followed up the success from Warrior with a brilliant year as Bane in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, and an unforgettable role as Forrest Bondurant in John Hillcoat's Lawless. Channeling his inner John Wayne, Hardy delivers a quiet and effective role as the head of a family-run bootlegging operation that faces stiff opposition from a corrupt special deputy (Guy Pearce) set on cutting into their profits. Lawless blends together strong performances and a witty tale of southern folklore that makes for a compelling western entry.
#2. Bronson (2008)
As a fan of Hardy, I made a conscious effort to backtrack in his portfolio and stumbled across a remarkably transformative role in Nicolas Winding Refn's odd biopic, Bronson. Before Refn captured the world's attention with Drive, he gave us the true story of a maniac named Michael Peterson (Hardy) who was sentenced to prison for 7 years after robbing a post office. However, Peterson went on to spend three decades in solitary confinement where he's masterminded the self proclaimed alter-ego, "Charles Bronson". Hardy's versatility is on clear display and he navigates the un-navigable mind of a demented psychopath.
#1. The Revenant (2015)
It's a bit of a common theme, but Hardy's superb and even Oscar-Nominated talents in Alejandro G. Inarritu's revenge tale, The Revenant, was ultimately overshadowed by the end of Leonardo DiCaprio's career-long quest at earning an Academy Award. DiCaprio finally got to give that speech while unfairly Hardy played second fiddle as Fitzgerald, a member of a hunting team who leaves a colleague (DiCaprio) for dead after a vicious bear attack. This performance finally put Tom Hardy on the Oscars' radar and with continuous talent and maybe even a little bit of luck, one day he'll get to give an acceptance speech as well.