The Hard Word

I haven’t a clue what the title means, but this kinky and mainly sweet-tempered heist film (2001) by Australian writer-director Scott Roberts seems fairly fresh to me, despite its heavy-handed way with a few generic staples (e.g., a femme fatale played by Rachel Griffiths). A scuzzy lawyer (Robert Taylor) enlists three goofy and basically nonviolent bank-robbing brothers (Guy Pearce, Damien Richardson, and Joel Edgerton) to pull off a job at a Melbourne racetrack, but many misadventures ensue. At times the plot developments in this post-Tarantino story seem so random they suggest automatic writing, but the characters and some of the settings kept me interested. 102 min. (JR)

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