If there’s one thing Guy Richie doesn’t get enough credit for it’s that he has an eye for talent in supporting roles in the films he’s written. When he takes on studio project he tends to load them up with more Hollywood friendly actors; when it’s in the smaller roles in films like Rocknrolla, he has an interesting eye for talent. His latest find is Tom Hardy; after stealing several scenes in that film, he delivered the most overlooked performance of 2009 in Bronson after a powerhouse performance in the BBC serial The Take.
Freddie (Hardy) is a career criminal who has just been released from prison after a four year stretch. His best friend is Jimmy (Shaun Evans), childhood friends who also happened to marry sisters. Their boss is Ozzy (Brian Cox), a gangster of some repute. Freddie’s goal upon exiting prison is to take over the London criminal underground by any means necessary; as the show progresses through a decade in the life of a crook, we see Freddie (and Jimmy) rise through the ranks.
And for a crime thriller it’s pretty generic, with each twist and turn being relatively predictable, but the show revolves around Freddie’s psychopathic behavior and how it affects everyone around him. Hardy is engrossing as Freddie, putting style and pizzazz into what usually would be a generic “frothing at the mouth” type of gangster role. Hardy takes the role and gives it some depth by making Freddie into more than just a generic sociopath; Hardy brings out the inner evil in Freddie to make him despicable in a way even his mother couldn’t love. Considering he brought out the inner psychotic out of Britain’s most dangerous inmate, bringing out Freddie’s inner psychotic in a way that leaves no room for an audience to root for.
Freddie is a scary human being and Hardy embraces the role with zeal; there’s no way anyone could root for him and Hardy seems to be having a lot of fun doing it. Seeing an actor relishing the part of the bad guy, giving him no redeeming factors, is always fun. The Take, however, is just a generic crime series that happens to have a top shelf performance from a character actor about to become a leading man.
Presented in a widescreen format, the transfer is an interesting one. The visual is good, but not great, but the audio is a bit erratic. The film’s score is overwhelming at times, taking over and drowning out the dialogue more often than not.
There are Interviews with members of the cast that don’t shed a lot of light into the series.
When all is said and done about Tom Hardy’s career, The Take will be an interesting viewing as introductory proof of his talent that Bronson would showcase.
BFS Entertainment presents The Take . Directed by David Drury Starring Brian Cox, Shaun Evans, Tom Hardy. Based on the novel “The Take”by Martina Cole. Running time 178 minutes. Not Rated. Released on DVD April 20, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.
Scott Sawitz is an Inside Pulse original. He's also been featured on The Ultimate Fighter.com, Fox Sports.com, Nerdcore Movement.com, CagePotato.com, Inside Fights.com and Film Arcade.net (among others). When Scott isn't writing about film he's making his own. Check out Drunk Justice Productions right here.