10. Inception (2010)

One of his breakthrough roles, Hardy performs alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in this stunningly complex film that explores the subconscious mind. Hardy plays ‘Eames’ who is a slick character that specialises in forgery and identity theft. He described the character as a cross between old Shakespeare lovely and somebody from the British Special Forces. Clearly impressed; director Christopher Nolan loved his performance so much that he was recast in many of his other films.

 

9. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Hardy plays, ‘Max Rockatansky’ in this post-apocalyptic franchise film with many wondering if he could pull it off. The fictional character was already brought to fame by great performances from Mel Gibson but Hardy proved his worth, gaining favour from the fans and critics alike. Hardy becomes the personification of the ‘strong and silent’ type in this film, without the routine ever becoming dull.

8. RocknRolla (2008)

Tom Hardy plays ‘Handsome Bob’ who is a gay man, struggling with his identity. In particular, his attraction to his best friend in the film. His best friend also happens to be a crime leader and typical ‘man’s man’. Throughout the film we get to see Bob use his looks and smarts to get what he wants, eventually convincing his best friend to engage in some activities his criminal partners might raise a few eyebrows too. Hardy pulls this off, making it look completely natural. He brought a lot of charisma and charm to the character and to the film in general.

7. Lawless (2012)

We get to see Hardy play another rough character in this film as ‘Forrest Bondurant’ who runs a successful moonshine business with the help of his two brothers. Hardy plays a character that has to mentor his little brother whilst maintaining his ruthlessness against his enemies. We believe into the myth of his character, and aren’t even surprised when he survives his throat being slashed open. We wouldn’t mind hearing that southern drawl one more time either.

6. Warrior (2011)

This film blew me away. Tom Hardy was exceptional playing ‘Tommy Riordan Conlon’ a former Marine that goes AWOL and returns home, competing in a world-class MMA tournament. This newcomer is unknown, even to his own family. He storms into the Octagon and destroys his opponents in mere seconds. As his troubles past is slowly revealed, we see a softer side of his character that is hidden deep within but he has good reasons to be so emotionally cold.

5. Legend (2015)

In this film, Hardy plays the ‘Kray Twins’, yes, both of them. To give some context, Reggie Kray was an underground boxer in the London scene, eventually building his own criminal organisation. His brother, on the other hand, Ron, unfortunately, suffered from schizophrenia and he frequently had outbursts, disrupting his brother’s plans. No stranger to London, Hardy gives an incredible performance, one which clearly represents both characters even though they are side-by-side in most of the shots. This role secures his name in British crime films as the go-to actor.

4. The Drop (2014)

Hardy plays ‘Bob Saginowski’ who appears to be a humble bartender in Brooklyn. It also happens that the bar is used as a drop-off point for mobsters. As the bar is robbed and other situations intensify around Bob, he manages to keep a level-head, navigating the criminal minefield. While the plot isn’t the most original, the performances were the saving grace in this film, Hardy leading the way.

3. Bronson (2008)

Hardy plays the notoriously dangerous prisoner ‘Charles Bronson’. Bronson is a recognised and feared name throughout the UK prison system who was known for his bare-knuckle boxing and possessing a short fuse. Hardy met the man in person and imitated his behaviour so well, that he even earned a lasting friendship with the guy. Hardy puts on a performance that is hilarious one minute and terrifying the next.

2. Locke (2013)

Stepping away from his action roles, Hardy plays ‘Ivan Locke’ who’s life is falling apart after he makes one terrible mistake. This drama unfolds in real-time, as the camera lenses stay locked ‘pardon the pun’ onto his face in dramatic close-ups. He doesn’t shy away from the cameras, instead, giving a powerful performance that completely makes the film.

1. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Probably his most iconic role yet, playing as the comic book villain ‘Bane’ who battles it out against ‘Batman’. Bane is a character that believes he is a heroic revolutionary, with Hardy giving a performance that brings a whole new side to the character that we haven’t previously seen before. Hardy proved his dedication, packing on slabs of muscle for the role which paid for our viewing pleasure (I mean terror). Just like Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the ‘Joker’, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing this role in the future.

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