Blu-Ray Review : Hardcore


Before we talk about Schrader’s classic, I should point you to 8mm, another later movie that delved into the same dark pool and used many of the same techniques as Hardcore, in fact I consider 8mm to be the better film, seeing as it follows the darkness right to the end in a way that perhaps Hardcore does not, also it features Leaf Phoenix and James Gandalfini in career best performances. Strangely it is not currently available on Blu-Ray, but there is a DVD worth getting as it includes a great director commentary from Joel Schumacher and you can pick it up for pennies on Amazon. So go get that at the same time as you pick up this limited version of Hardcore.
Paul Schrader is one of cinema’s greats, the man behind the scenes on some of Scorsese’s best works, this is the man that wrote Taxi Driver, so respect is definitely due before you delve deeper and discover Light Sleeper, Blue Collar, Cat People and the jet black thriller Hardcore, which features an excellent performance from George C. Scott as the super religious father who goes in search of his missing daughter and finds himself immersed in a world he knows nothing about. He hires a detective (played by the excellent Peter Boyle, also a Taxi Driver alumni) who discovers that the missing girl is working in the porn industry, leading to one of the film’s set pieces where Scott is lead into a small peepshow cinema and shown the film that does indeed feature his daughter – his cries of “TURN IT OFF!” will stick with you long after the film ends.
Soon Scott is disguised as a film maker trying to find the actors who worked with his daughter. He also follows the trail of a snuff film that may or may not feature his daughter. these scenes are the most like the tale of 8mm, except of course this came first and is far less graphic but equally as devastating.
Hardcore works still as a great drama, with fully fleshed out (literally) characters and special props should go out to the beautiful beguiling Season Hubley, who plays an adult worker who aids Scott on his quest. In real life Hubley was the wife of Kurt Russell, which must have been one of the coolest couples of all time!
So what do we get for extras in this 3000 limited run Blu/DVD package? An interview with the director of photography, who tells us more about what he wanted to do rather than what was actually done and a new documentary about composer Jack Nitzsche which is excellent and if you want to hear more, you can access an isolated score of just the music.
The best extra here is an 85 minute interview with Schrader, recorded with Derek Malcolm, a voice you will definitely recognise if you have any interest in classic cinema. This talks about Taxi Driver, Last Temptation Of Christ, American Gigolo, Cat People – but barely touches Hardcore, which seems odd but luckily this is one of the great cinematic auteurs opening up and this interview plays out over the movie like a normal commentary. Speaking of which, it is strange that there isn’t a solo Schrader commentary here as he recorded one for the American release in 2016 – this is currently available on Youtube so that is just another rabbit hole to fall down after you have gone through the tasty bones on view here. Excellent picture/sound. Classic movie. Get it while you can. Five Stars.

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