starring Guy Pearce, Rachel Griffiths, Robert Taylor, Joel Edgerton
written and directed by Scott Rogers
by Walter Chaw You'd think that POME ("Prisoners of Mother England") would be better at making a crime drama, but Scott Roberts's hyphenate debut The Hard Word is a flaccid ripper of Kubrick's The Killing thick in avuncular vernacular and notably thin of any real meat. Between a few funny throwaways (a character refers to Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly, Dick's autobiographical survey of paranoia and drug psychosis, as a primer for modern marriage), and some decidedly David Lynch-ian violence, the picture feels a lot like a mish-mash of post-mod noir ideas (the butcher, the redeemed femme, cannibalism) arranged with little respect for rhyme and reason. Style over substance, the whole thing is delivered in accents so under-looped and thick that it occasionally falls out as a cast of Brad Pitt's Snatch pikeys performing Tarantino outtakes.