Tom Hardy is one of the most exciting actors around and he is set to return to the big screen this week with Mad Max: Fury Road as he takes over the role of Max Rockatansky for the first time.

Bronson

Bronson

The critics are already raving about the new instalment in the Mad Max franchise and it looks set to be another big hit for the popular actor - who is one of our faves here in the FemaleFirst office.

To celebrate Hardy's return to the big screen - and we are going to be seeing plenty of him this year - we take a look at the best movies and performances of his career so far.

- Bronson

It was back in 2009 when Bronson hit the big screen and it was the movie that did help to put Hardy on the acting map. Hardy teamed up with director Nicolas Winding Refn for the first time as he took on the title role.

The movie follows the story of Michael Peterson - aka Charles Bronson - who was jailed for seven years in 1974 at the age of 19 for attempting to rob a post office with a sawn-off shotgun. He has since spent 34 years in jail, 30 in solitary confinement, and is UK's most infamous prisoner.

Bronson is a movie that mixes fact with fiction as well as being part biopic drama and part art-house movie. This is not a film that will appeal to everyone, but I found it a terrific watch with Hardy on top form in the title role.

It is a towering performance from Hardy as he is bold, in your face, funny, violent, and eccentric all rolled into one. In lesser hands, this could have been a tricky role to pull off, but Hardy balances all of these different aspects of the character to produce a fascinating picture of Bronson.

However, Bronson is a violent picture - you would expect nothing less for someone who has made a life out of beating the shit out of people while in jail - and may not be to the taste of everyone. And yet, this is a thoroughly entertaining movie and a wonderfully stylised movie.

Bronson is worth watching for Hardy's performance alone as he has totally engrossed himself in this character and undergone a remarkable physical transformation to play him. It is a committed performance from Hardy and remains one of the best of his career so far.

- Locke

Locke is one of the more recent performances from Hardy as it was released in April of last year. For me, Locke was one of the best movies of 2014 and was one of the best character studies I have seen on the big screen in quite a few years.

Hardy is the only actor that we see on screen for the entire eighty-five minute run time as he takes on the role of Ivan Locke. The movie follows Locke - a successful construction manager and family man - who receives a phone call that turns his life upside down.

A movie set in a car, travelling on a motorway, and focusing on just one man may not sound the most riveting watch - but in the hands of Hardy and director & writer Steven Knight, Locke was one of the most riveting movies of last year.

Over the eight five minutes, we truly get to know Ivan Locke: the kind of man he is, his drive, the love he has for his family, and the problems that he has had in his past. Locke is a true character study, and is brought to life wonderfully by a great performance from Hardy and beautifully written by Knight - together they really had made a great team to deliver this incredible movie.

Locke is a magnificent piece of human drama that tackles some interesting themes and ideas as well as delves under the skin of this ordinary and unassuming man who made just one mistake.

To say it is a tour de force performance from Hardy is an understatement as he engages you as an audience member from the opening scenes to a the closing credits with a wonderful solo performance - there are not many actors who could have shouldered the responsibility for the entire movie and pull out a performance like this.

It is another gem in Hardy's career and a film that you just have to see if you have not had the chance to check it out yet. He continues to show is versatility as an actor I would love to see him take on more roles like this.

- Inception

During his career, we have seen Hardy tackle some terrific blockbuster projects but, for me, Inception remains the best. Inception marked the first time that Hardy had teamed up with director Christopher Nolan and was part of a terrific ensemble cast.

It was back in 2010 when Inception came to the big screen and Nolan wowed us with his imagination and his ability to bring that imagination to the big screen.

Hardy was part of a great cast that included Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Michael Caine, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, and Marion Cotillard. This is a movie where no one actor shines, but they all come together to make a wonderful ensemble piece of work.

And that is exactly what happened with Inception as each actor played a pivotal role in the story and the way the film was brought together by Nolan. Inception is truly a movie about working together and sharing in the vision of the filmmaker.

Inception was unlike anything else that hit the big screen in 2010, as it was hugely ambitious, intelligent, and inventive as well as being packed with humour, emotion, and human stories.

Visually, Inception is just stunning. In a way, it becomes more than a movie, it becomes an experience, - it was one that had to be enjoyed on the big screen to truly get the full effect of what Nolan and co had achieved.

Inception is easily one of the best sci-fi films of all time and went on to enjoy both critical and commercial success. The movie was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture. It went on to win four - Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects.

Other great Hardy movies include Warrior, The Dark Knight Rises, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and The Drop.

Mad Max: Fury Road is released 14th May.


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