Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hardcore (1979, Paul Schrader)

Here's another movie I had never heard of two days ago. I spotted it yesterday and decided to give it a shot. I know this sounds weird but all of the components making up the film just seemed good enough to give it a blind watch. Not that I rarely watch movies I know little about, but this one just seemed like a sure thing. George C. Scott and Peter Boyle are always great to watch and I knew a film written and directed by Paul Schrader about going underground in the porn industry would be something I'd like. Not that I'm really into porn or anything, it's just the whole seedy, dark underground thing that I'm attracted to.

George C. Scott plays Jake VanDorn, a religious businessman and single father of a teenage girl named Kristin (Ilah Davis). Kristin goes away on a trip to California with her church but mysteriously disappears. Jake hires a shady private detective (Peter Boyle) to find his daughter but realizes that to find her, he is going to have to do it himself. Jake goes undercover as a porno director and befriends a stripper who may hold the key to those responsible for his daughter's disappearance.

I was right about this film being a worthy watch, despite my lack of knowledge about it. I just knew that the components were too strong to end in disappointment. In fact I was blown away by George C. Scott's performance in this film. The scene where he is forced to watch his daughter in the porno is some of the best acting I have ever seen. Boyle is great too as the bumbling private dick, as is Season Hubley as the stripper/prostitute Niki. Schrader's story is well written and heart breaking and his direction nails (pun intended) the seedy adult underground perfectly. Everything about the locales are perfect. The story begins in a rural town and the people, scenery and houses just look so real. Everything down to the decorations on the walls inside Jake's house are so authentic that it really impressed me. Then when Jake travels to the city, the whole atmosphere and characters seem very genuine. My only real gripe with the film was that I thought the very end could have had a little more of a twist, but overall the film is a winner.



  1. I agree, I remember th efilm, but was way too young to see it when it came out. I ran across it at Suncoast for 5.00 a few months ago, and I liked it as well (like may not be quite the right word) Other than that I think your review is spot-on, I totally agree with it. Kudos!

  2. I've always enjoyed Peter Boyle (Johnny Dangerously, Monster's Ball, Red Heat and most recently, Outland) ..but in each of these he's been relegated to second tier roles or lower.

    Looks like this is a more prominent role ..never mind the subject matter is right up my alley. Good stuff ..think I'll track this down.

  3. six string - I loved Boyle in Taxi Driver, Young Frankenstein and Where the Buffalo Roam too...Hell, I even liked him in *gasp* Everybody Loves Raymond!