The Hard Truth

(Kristine Peterson, USA, 1994)


There are many women directors who lurk, unsung, in the wilds of low-budget genre and exploitation filmmaking.

Those video buffs who enjoyed Kristine Peterson’s teen-horror-comedy Body Chemistry (1990) will be on the lookout for The Hard Truth, an action-thriller starring Eric Roberts, Lysette Anthony and Michael Rooker (from Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, 1990).

There are few surprises in this formulaic piece, but it is very energetically handled. The story is a tricky, twisting three-hander. Mantz (Rooker) is a violent cop seduced into complicity in a perfect crime by his lover Lisa (Anthony), a secretary to a corrupt politician. Mantz then sets about securing the assistance of master thief Chandler (Roberts), a respectable doctor by day.

Every character has a secret life and murky connections to the criminal underworld – connections which eventually create some difficult complications. What’s worse, the twin desires for money and sex scramble all allegiances, as Lisa manoeuvres between her two male accomplices.

The Hard Truth has a few marvellous set-pieces – particularly a shoot-out on a train platform echoing Kathryn Bigelow’s modern classic Blue Steel (1990) – and some pleasingly daffy plot reversals.

MORE Peterson: Slaves to the Underground

© Adrian Martin November 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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