The Hard Word
Time Out saysThe outside world (Sydney, to be exact) is about to welcome back convicted armed robbers the Twentyman brothers - sarcastic braintrust Dale (Pearce), sweetie-pie butcher Mal (Richardson) and fussbudget weightlifter Shane (Edgerton) - thanks to solicitor/employment co-ordinator Frank (Taylor). The oily lawyer soon has another risky job lined up for the boys, though a more immediate concern is whether or not he pursues a different type of illicit entry with Dale's wife, Carol (Griffiths). 'To put the hard word on' is Australian slang, meaning to demand or coerce, specifically for an erotic favour. Sexual anxiety wriggles like a tapeworm inside Roberts' first feature, from the moment Dale gestures towards a copy of Portnoy's Complaint and anoints it 'the wanker's Bible'. Notwithstanding the spectacle of a tough guy breast feeding his anger management counsellor, however, Roth-calibre carnal pathology doesn't beckon, nor do heist drama degrees of Heat. Fitfully preposterous, the film feels patched together from different sources and devotes an unseemly amount of footage to the brotherly trio running through city streets with bags of loot. JWin.