The Hard Word review

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Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barbies could be the pitch for this Aussie crime caper, in which Guy Pearce stars as one of three brothers who take time out from Sydney's Long Bay Correctional Facility to do the occasional armoured car robbery for the prison governor. Pitched somewhere between violent thriller and oddball comedy, Scott Roberts' first feature kicks off as an unusual caper flick before nosediving into yawn-inducing silliness.

There are plenty of weird touches here that lodge in the brain: the brothers talk backwards to each other, a lava lamp is put to unconventional use and an inflatable cow plays a pivotal role. Then there's Six Feet Under's Rachel Griffiths as a brassy moll who, when not shagging Pearce's attorney, gets off on smearing her juices over the dividing glass in the prison visiting room.

Stuff like this is enough to make The Hard Word more than just an outing for drongos - but only just. Anyone hoping for the next Chopper will leave feeling a little cut-up.

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