The Take – Review (Spoiler free)

First off I need to thank Tyson over at headinavice.com for bringing my attention to this TV miniseries – I consider myself fairly well informed about Tom Hardy’s career, having been following it ever since I first saw his portrayal of Heathcliff in the 2009 adaptation of Wuthering Heights. Somehow The Take slipped under my radar however, and so when Tyson described it as Hardy giving his greatest ever performance, I went out and bought the DVD practically right away. The Take primarily follows two men; the just released from jail Freddie (Hardy) and his more business minded upstart cousin Jimmy (Shaun Evans) who begin using the connections to London’s criminal network that Freddie has made whilst inside. From there it spans across most of the eighties and the early nineties depicting an ugly and brutal tale of revenge, greed and violence. This series isn’t afraid to go to some pretty dark places, I won’t list examples in order to preserve their onscreen power but they are uncomfortable at best.

This period in Hardy’s career is my personal favourite; where he plays these dark and often tortured souls such as Heathcliff and Bill Sykes. He inhabits a permanently brimming, dark electricity which so often manifests itself into brutal physical violence, but what really makes these performances special is the emotional outbursts which these characters occasionally have – and Hardy is magnificent when portraying these. Still, all praise deserving  it’s not completely about Hardy here, there are some great performances turned in by all the main cast; Shaun Evans and Kierston Wareing are both very good in their respective characters, Brian Cox is good if perhaps a little underused but Charlotte Riley is the one who comes away as second most noteworthy. She has to play through some extreme emotions and really delivers in every scene. I now need to revisit her Cathy to Hardy’s Heathcliff and try to assess my opinion of her performance there, because she really impressed me in The Take.

There are a couple of issues I had with The Take but the only really damaging one would be its score. It often plays ill-fitting songs over scenes of action, or more unforgivably, tension which does a major disservice to the piece. When it needed to rein it in and allow Hardy’s menace to thrill us, it would often instead make a damn good attempt at smothering his performance – not that it succeeds, but still it grates. The few small issues that I had with the programme itself are rendered pretty obsolete however when it comes to recommending this series – regardless of whether you are a Tom Hardy fan or not, his performance here demands attention and I doubt that you will regret giving it a try – even if the ugly violent side to The Take distresses you.

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15 comments

  1. Bane was also a dark & tortured soul; in fact he was born in the dark. Bruce Wayne merely adopted it.

    1. True, true, but if Bane was born in the dark then I’d hate to think where some of these others were raised.

      1. He was already a man when he first saw daylight, and by then, it was blinding.

  2. threesentencecritic · · Reply

    I’m going to have to thank you and Tyson for bringing my attention to this now – going to have to make sure I watch it

    1. Well I hope that after these multiple recommendations you end up liking it! If nothing else, I’m sure that you will come away impressed with Hardy.

  3. Just added this one to my queue – I’m always up for Tom Hardy and hadn’t heard of this one before

    1. Great to hear that, I’m aiming to work through the pieces of his that I’ve missed so there will hopefully be a couple more Hardy reviews up on here soon.
      Would you review The Take once you’ve seen it? It would be interesting to read your opinion. Cheers for commenting!

      1. I don’t normally write about TV shows, but I suppose I could make exceptions to that.

      2. Sure, well either way I hope you enjoy it – and if you don’t review it, feel free to swing back here and let me know.

    2. Proof that Andy likes my posts without reading them 🙂 LOL

  4. Only just seen this, thanks for the mention and glad you liked it!

  5. Randzy · · Reply

    Just when I think I’ve seen all of Tom Hardy’s work, something else pops up. I’m not complaining, especially since this review of The Take commends Hardy’s performance. I’ve been pleased to find all of Hardy’s other work through my Blockbuster @Home, so I’ll be sure to add this to my queue as well. I don’t recall what I thought of Charlotte Riley in Wuthering Heights, so I’ll add that as well, just so I can compare her two performances. I can’t wait to tell one of the girls I work with at DISH about this series because if I just found out about it now, I’m sure she hasn’t heard of it either.

    1. Glad that I could help you discover more of Tom Hardy!
      It’s also interesting (or at least I find it to be) to watch Hardy and Riley knowing that they are now an off-screen couple. I’ll soon be reviewing another obscure Hardy film – Stuart: A Life Backwards. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch alongside Hardy and if you haven’t seen that one then I also recommend it.

      1. I’ve read Stuart: A Life Backwards, but I have yet to see the film adaptation with Hardy. I’m looking forward to your review of it!

    2. I have heard that the book is very good, and after seeing the film I can believe it, I really want to read it soon.
      Excellent, well it will be uploaded in a few days 🙂

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