Hart Bochner is one of those deliciously rare character actors who can grab a role and make it belong only to him. Danger is his essence.  You love to loathe him.  Hart usually plays the bad guy in a movie and he does the dark side so evilly well.

Over the weekend, we watched the middling 1998 movie Break Up on Netflix starring the always fantastic Bridget Fonda — who has been sadly missing in entertainment action since her 2003 car accident when she broke her back — and the always infamous Hart Bochner.

The movie stars Bridget, but the story belongs to Hart.

The plot of Break Up is silly.

It’s a domestic-violence-gone-even-badder example of the horror genre and Bridget is the good girl who gets it and Hart Bochner is the bad guy serial killer husband who gives it to her.

Kiefer Sutherland and Steven Weber play cops who only get in the way of the Bochner drama.

Hart Bochner, if you don’t know, is Hollywood Royalty.

His father is Lloyd Bochner who made his bits as the perpetual bad guy in the movies and mainstream broadcast television for over 40 years.

The bad apple doesn’t fall far from the Bochner tree!

In Break Up, Hart Bochner plays a malevolent, manic, cheater husband who loves to beat up his wife, Bridget — known as “Jim” in the movie.

Even when Hart is just standing in a scene and saying nothing, he’s still doing everything in the silences — the essence of paranoid danger and inexplicable explosions are hardy and nearby and ready for instant exploitation.

Penelope Ann Miller plays Hart Bochner’s cheating love interest and she is also arresting, and ends up quite dead, in the movie.

Both Bridget and Penelope appear to take great delight in kissing Hart on screen and that makes the movie even grosser as we realize what a manipulating and horrible cad he is in every depth.

There are echoes of the Coen Brothers’ best villains in the movie, and Hart feels peeled right out of Fargo and Blood Simple.

Hart’s cartoonish Mickey Mouse hands — self-burned by acid to hide his true identity — are oafishly funny, and his scatological behavior makes for an immensely satisfying performance as he rips up the movie as a ridiculously melodramatic sadistic killer.

The end of the movie is curious as Bridget falls for a final intimacy with Hart.  We are forced to consider her love for him is real and visceral even after he repeatedly beat her up and left her for Deaf and dead — and we begin to see why the victim returns to her abuser for what appears to not to be artificial caring, but rather an artful manipulation.

There is a final kiss as we are repulsed, but yet, drawn to, Bridget’s attraction to Hart.

We close the circle from the first moments of the film to the last, but we cannot help but watch with indignation as a killer brushes off his murders while asking for a second chance, and we bemoan the abused wife who tongues her maniac husband with the kiss of death.

As Hart Bochner dies on screen — you know his character deserved an even bloodier, brutal, and less sexual end — you also know you’ll miss him terribly as a character of interest who was delighted to kill for a moment more of self-preservation.

There are few actors who could bring life to such a degenerate character — but that’s the gift of Hart Bochner — he makes the bad guys believable and he knows how to center their longing for inclusion into a world in which they will never fit.

Hart Bochner makes his bad men live in the quiet moments and along the subtle human hallows where you are forced to respect a debased immoral duty to serve only the worst of themselves, and they will stop at nothing to propel their cruelty into the next second in time.

On screen, Hart Bochner would rather kill you than kiss you — but if you give him a chance to do both, he’ll take you up on the offer — but there’s no predicting which one will come first.


  1. UPDATE: There’s no such thing as a coincidence!

    Ethan Peck (10 Things I Hate About You), Eureka alum Ed Quinn and Hart Bochner (The Starter Wife) will co-star opposite Mary-Louise Parker in NBC’s single-camera comedy pilot Feed Me.


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