The Tom Hardy Action Epic On Netflix That Will Make Your Heart Race

If you're looking for excitement, this Tom Hardy movie is the right film to stream.

By Robert Scucci | Updated

tom hardy christopher nolan dunkirk
Tom Hardy in Dunkirk (2017)

These days, Tom Hardy is most well known for his portrayal of Eddie Bock, and his symbiote-suited alter-ego, Venom. Science-fiction superhero flicks aside, it’s worth noting that Hardy also starred in 2017’s Dunkirk, which was written and directed by Christopher Nolan, and is considered to be one of the greatest war films of all time. Dunkirk is lauded for its extensive use of practical effects, excellent sound design, film scoring, editing, and cinematography, and you can stream it on Netflix right now.

The World War II film is set in 1940, and it depicts the evacuation of over 300,000 men during the Battle of Dunkirk. Though this Tom Hardy film has received high praise from actual Dunkirk veterans, there were of course some creative liberties taken by Christopher Nolan to translate the historical events into a cohesive piece of cinema.

Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy as Farrier

One such liberty was the overall intensity of the movie, which Kenneth Branagh (Commander Bolton) reported that some veterans suggested the movie was “louder than the battle.”

One difference between Dunkirk and its contemporaries is the film’s sparse use of dialogue. Christopher Nolan truly wanted to focus on the intensity of the evacuation and drew inspiration from silent movies like Erich von Stroheim’s Greed, D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Throughout the Ages, and F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise.

Kenneth Branagh
Kenneth Branagh

So if you’re looking for some great Tom Hardy one-liners, you won’t find them in Dunkirk, but we’d argue that you won’t feel cheated after you see the scope of the action sequences.

In fact, Tom Hardy only has about 10 lines in Dunkirk. But what’s presented is such a visceral depiction of war that it quickly becomes apparent why Christopher Nolan decided to write a screenplay that was only 76 pages. Nolan has gone on record stating that he didn’t want to go into the war-room politics or the backstories of each character because he felt that these story-telling mechanisms would take away from the story he was trying to tell.

Dunkirk received universal acclaim upon its release and currently boasts a 92 percent critical score.

When you consider the thousands of extras that were employed for the production of Dunkirk, as well as the use of historical boats and spitfire planes that were used to produce this war epic, it’s clear that Christopher Nolan wanted to make a film that had a sense of urgency.

To add to this notion of immediacy, Dunkirk is told from three perspectives: land, sea, and air. And it’s evident that Tom Hardy was up for the task with his portrayal of his Farrier character, who says very little, but carries the story through his brave and selfless actions as he assists in the evacuation without even knowing if he’ll be able to fly back to England or crash-land.

Tom Hardy flying
Tom Hardy’s Spitfire in Dunkirk

A common storytelling mechanism in war films is the use of the composite character, and Tom Hardy’s character gets this treatment. Though Farrier is not directly based on an actual pilot, inspiration was drawn from the real-life evacuation.

Sources indicate that Farrier’s experience closely mirrors the story of Alan Christopher “Al” Deere, a New Zealand Spitfire pilot who had a similar crash landing, and it’s likely that Hardy’s character was based on a few soldiers that actually existed rather than just one singular person.

Streaming on Netflix
Scene from Dunkirk

What’s most impressive about Dunkirk is its relatively short run-time of 106 minutes. When you think about the multiple point-of-view treatment that this Tom Hardy film encapsulates, it’s safe to say that not a single minute of run-time is wasted in Dunkirk’s visual storytelling.

The Sounds Of Dunkirk Are Incredible

If the promise of stunning visuals and action sequences isn’t enough for you, then the film score for Dunkirk will surely keep you at the edge of your seat. Hans Zimmer penned the score and leaned heavily into the use of Risset rhythms, which are used to create the illusion of an ever-increasing tempo, which naturally adds a healthy amount of suspense to the more tense scenes.

Soldiers escaping in Dunkirk

Zimmer also sampled and synthesized Christopher Nolan’s pocket watch, which could be subtly heard when Tom Hardy’s Farrier is trying to assess how much fuel he has left in his plane before attempting a landing.

Reception For The Movie And Tom Hardy’s Performance Was Universally Positive

Dunkirk received universal acclaim upon its release and currently boasts a 92 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes. Not only are Tom Hardy, Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, and Aneurin Barnard praised for their collective ability to convey emotion through the use of very little dialogue, the film itself is praised for its overall intensity and gripping cinematography. What’s more, Dunkirk raked in $527 million at the box office, making it the highest-grossing World War II film to date.

Farrier, Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy’s Farrier surveys wreckage

Though Tom Hardy didn’t take home any Academy Awards for his performance in Dunkirk, the film was nominated for eight, taking home three for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing. If you want to see Dunkirk in all of its glory, then we strongly recommend you fire up Netflix and strap in for a wild ride.