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The Hard Word (2002)

R  |   |  Action, Comedy, Crime  |  27 June 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 3,147 users   Metascore: 51/100
Reviews: 37 user | 56 critic | 24 from

Three fraternal bank robbers languishing in jail, discover a profitable (if not dodgy) way to spend their time. Crime can most certainly pay, if you "know wot I mean?" However when sex and ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dale Twentyman
Carol Twentyman
Frank Malone
Shane Twentyman
Mal Twentyman
Rhondda Findleton ...
Jane Moore
Det. Mike Kelly
Paul Sonkkila ...
Det. Jack O'Riordan
Kim Gyngell ...
Dorian Nkono ...
Stephen Whittaker ...
Torquil Neilson ...


Three fraternal bank robbers languishing in jail, discover a profitable (if not dodgy) way to spend their time. Crime can most certainly pay, if you "know wot I mean?" However when sex and greed rear-up between the good crims and the bad cops, the consequences are both bizarre and fatal. Written by Noel C. Bailey <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In a word, they're gone. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language, sexuality and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

27 June 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blood and Guts  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$9,422 (USA) (13 June 2003)


$422,688 (USA) (1 August 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The films title 'The Hard Word' is a reference to the type of Aussie slang (Cant or Cryptolect language) the films main protagonists use when they would communicate with one another in prison or "on the job". This language is known as Retchab Klat (Rech-tub kay-lat) 'Butcher Talk'. Words spelt backwards with digraphs and plurals kept intact. It was developed as a form of communicating between butchers to either ogle or make fun of certain customers and not draw attention. It is an old time butchers language that is still used in some small country Australian towns to this day. See more »


Shane Twentyman: [about Pamela] You're gone on her, aren't you, mate?
Mal Twentyman: Head over fuckin' heels, mate. I'm feeling things I've only seen on tv.
Shane Twentyman: Nice tits.
Mal Twentyman: [dreamily] Yeah . . . what?
See more »

Crazy Credits

without whom ... Andrena Finlay See more »


Referenced in The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Guy Pearce (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

It pays to see this tough and refreshing Aussie crime flick!
21 June 2002 | by (Hamilton, Australia) – See all my reviews

In my time, I have seen many films that have shown the bad side of people's lives, with The Hard Word being no exception. This film has it all. The tough guys using, aussie language, committing major crimes and misdemeanors and most importantly, they are having a ‘bloody' good time while they are doing it. If I was to be part of thieving gang, then I would ask for a ticket to join in with the close-nit robbers known as the `Twentyman's'.

Meet the Twentyman brothers, Dale, Shane and Mal: hard bitten thieves with a self imposed honour code that demands nobody gets hurt. The three are languishing in a Sydney prison on remand for armed robbery. Dale, the level-headed leader of the Twentyman pack, is helping the trio focus their life beyond crime, while he focuses on his wife Carol. Middle child Mal is affable sort, whose love for butchery helps him while away hours behind bars. Shane, the youngest, is a loveable lunatic with a short fuse. When word comes that their corrupt and well connected lawyer frank has secured them bail, the boys whisked off to perform a ‘job' and all goes well. Frank has greased the appropriate wheels, ensuring the local cops don't cause trouble, yet the brother's find themselves back in the slammer all too quickly. Frank bullies the brother's into one last heist; a grandiose scheme that will either liberate or kill them, once and for all!

I really enjoyed this Australian piece of cinematography. The cast of this film was big, but extremely good. The three ‘Twentyman brothers', were played well by there acting talent. I really feel that Guy Pearce has been a breath of fresh in the movie industry, whether it be in his home country, or overseas. He played the careful and leading Dale. I really liked what Pearce did in this role. He was extremely intense, but in way a seriously dangerous character, though his chosen life would say otherwise. All he wanted was to do the ‘jobs' and be able to live comfortably. Guy has some impressive movies on the CV, including the brilliant L.A. Confidential, Memento and the very feminine `Priscilla, Queen Of the Desert' . The other star of this show is another Australia acting talents, Rachel Griffith. Like Guy Pearce, she lightens up the screen as only she can, and has been refreshing to the movie industry. She played the ‘tart', Carol, wife of our leading crime man. She was perfect for this role. I feel that no other actress could have got it better. Griffiths has had a good time of late and is about to star in the upcoming movie on the famous Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly, and has been in the recent movie hit, Blow, starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruise.

Dale's younger brother Shane, is played by ‘Secret Life of Us' star Joel Edgerton. Shane is a very angry criminal, but is also very cheeky in what he does, to help his jail-ridden brothers, taste freedom once again. His character, is I am sure what young people are like when they dabble in crime. Joel has starred in other movies like Erskinville Kings, Star Wars Episode II and Ned Kelly. The other Twentyman brother was played by actor Damien Richardson. I enjoyed how he acted in this character immensely. He was so typically ‘Australian' in almost everything he did and said. Yet he was also like Dale in that he was in it for the ‘cash', and to not hurt anyone. Look I could on about the cast of this film, with good roles from Robert Taylor, who played the scheming lawyer Frank, comedian Kym Gyngell, Russell Dykstra, Rhondda Findleton and Vince Colosmo.

Yet this film also had a wonderful story and showed off the landscape that it had beautifully. The film's story was written by its director Scott Roberts. I feel he put the right amount of Aussie colloquialisms in it, to make me feel like it is a part of my everyday life. Yet this story, while it might be simple in parts, was an extremely clever in how it was written, with the premise of three brother's being in jail for crimes they have committed, very ingenious. A mention of the language that this film has is important. Swearing is now being accepted more than ever by society, yet in the movies it seems to still shock many people. The Hard word had plenty of ‘Hard words', but were used in a suitable context. What do you expect from harden criminals anyway? However, the work of the cinematographer also needs a mention here. This role was taken on by Brian J. Beheny, who showed off the attractions of both Sydney and Melbourne well in this film. As a former Melbournian resident, the way this film used Melbourne was really rewarding for me personally.

For me, living a life of crime would be a an extremely difficult choice, as I feel the tag ‘crime does not pay', is good motivation not to experiment in unlawful activities. In a way, this movie shows that tag to be true. Yet this film shows the other side to crime well. To see how these bad guys stick together and are so faithful towards each other is exceptional. When you are about to watch this film, you could be mistaken for knowing what to except, but let me assure you, that once you have viewed ‘the Hard Word', the characters' and most of their actions will amaze you, to the point that you would never have imagined or forget. This is another positive step forward for the Australian movie industry.

CMRS gives ‘The Hard Word': 5 (Brilliant film)

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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