Brody stars as Jack: con artist, petty criminal, and womanizer extraordinaire. Women seem to be attracted to his bad boy persona (isnt that usually the way lust works?), and he takes full advantage of his rep as he fills his bed with random women, none of which he cares one iota about. Then along comes Claire (Charlotte Ayanna). Claires a serious student, hard-working, intelligent and sincere. Shes also quite attractive, leaving Jack no option but to hit on her. Blind to all of his many faults, Claire falls hard. Jack gets scared and pulls away. Claire calls, visits unexpectedly, and keeps hoping hell see the light and leave behind his life of crime. You get the picture. The downward spiral of love and betrayal continues until Jack and Claire turn down a dark path that should have been avoided at all costs.
Set in New York City, director Peter Sehr turns that citys streets into supporting characters in a loving though brutally realistic look at the seedy underbelly of the Big Apple. Gritty, grainy, and teeming with unseen menace, the streets provide no sanctuary for "Love the Hard Ways" lost and confused leading characters.
Adrien Brody is phenomenal as usual in this role. He must walk a very fine line between alienating the audience and going overboard and making Jack into a caricature of a pathetic loner. In Brodys hands, Jack is flawed but real. One moment hes a jerk you cringe away from, the next hes a sympathetic figure.
Im surprised we havent seen more of Brodys costar, Charlotte Ayanna. Her heart wrenching performance in "Love the Hard Way" bodes well for what we can expect of her in the future. Talented with girl-next-door good looks, Ayanna infuses soul into a very tough role. From the wide-eyed college student to the hardened cynical woman she transitions into, Ayanna shows shes someone to keep an eye out for.
"Love the Hard Way" is a hard film to watch. Its a twisted romantic tale of love gone totally wrong. While its tough to watch, its also impossible to look away from.
"Love the Hard Way" was directed by Peter Sehr (full cast and crew list) and is not yet rated.