Hard Times Screen 4 articles

Hard Times


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  • Eventually, loyalties are tested and betrayals confirmed, familiar terrain for such rugged genre territory. However, Hard Times values this progression as something more than churning plot gears. Hill is genuinely interested in the way men express themselves non-verbally, or through short bursts of dialogue. This is especially true when it comes to Cheney, who expressed to Speed in one key early sequence, "I don't like to rush things."

  • Enjoyable, but suffers from idiot-plot problems and Jill Ireland problems. The latter presumably require no elaboration (Hill reportedly pissed off Bronson by cutting as much of Ireland's performance as he could), but arguably are also related to the former: Both Chaney's romance and Speed's loan-shark hassles constitute shaky, whaddaya-need-a-road-map? efforts to fashion some sort of narrative, so that the movie doesn't just stumble from one bout to the next.

  • Directed with great precision and sobriety, “Hard Times” itself seems the taciturn opposite of so much of the unruly, loquacious American cinema of the 1970s: released just weeks after “Dog Day Afternoon,” it seems to come from a completely different planet than does that Sidney Lumet film. But “Hard Times” is rooted in an older tradition.

  • A stripped back and spare American depression chronicle, a controlled and almost zen tale of the desperate and lonely in 1930’s Louisiana compared with the bawdier, effervescing and irreverent depictions of the south during the depression of Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967) or Scorsese’s Boxcar Bertha (1972). As a boxing or combat film it is almost restrained, the fight scenes are dramatic but bloodless ballets choreographed with authentic bite but reduced brutality for the viewer.