Anti-Semitism, race relations, coming of age, and fathers and sons: in Baltimore from fall, 1954, to fall, 1955. Racial integration comes to the high school, TV is killing burlesque, and ... See full summary »
Adrien Brody plays a hard-boiled con-man who lures Japanese businessmen into assignations with hand-picked call-girls - and then poses as a vice cop in order to extract bribes for overlooking their transgressions. Pam Grier is equally hard-boiled as a real detective vowing to end his shake-down enterprise. The cynical scam artist's life becomes increasingly complicated when he meets a beautiful graduate student who falls for him. It isn't long before she has dismantled his tough exterior to reveal a sensitive soul who dreams of being a writer. He resists the girl's efforts to get him to reform, and subsequently rejects her, so she decides on a dangerous strategy to win him back. In different hands - and with a less talented cast - 'Love The Hard Way' would likely be a horrible mess. In this instance writer/director Peter Sehr and cinematographer Guy Dufaux avoid the usual traps and invest the story with some genuine originality - while Brody and Charlotte Ayanna give the star-crossed lovers poignant depth as they wind their tormented way towards a resolution of their problems. Like the movie itself, they walk a tightrope between the gritty and sentimental, and it turns out to be an unusually moving journey.
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