Hardcore Film Details
Overview: A conservative Midwest businessman ventures into the underworld of pornography in California to look for his runaway teenage daughter who is making porno films in California’s porno pits.
Tagline: Oh my God, that’s my daughter.
Review: HARDCORE is an all-around excellent film about the sleazy “underbelly” of the 70’s porn era. From what I’ve read about these times (I was only about 3 years old around the time this film was set…) it seems that a lot of the “details” in HARDCORE are pretty accurate – the sleazy “massage” and “wrestling” parlors, the “adult bookstores”, the hotel-room “casting-calls” and “auditions”, the scumbag producers and directors, the drug-hazed actors and prostitutes…it all seemed a realistic representation of the porn underworld of that time-frame. The film centers around a young girl who grew up in a small, religiously devout town in Michigan. She goes off on a bible-camp trip to California, and promptly disappears. Her father (played BRILLIANTLY by George C. Scott) is a local business-owner who goes to California for information, and eventually hires a semi-sleazy private-dick to help find his daughter. Scott heads back home to Michigan while the investigator makes his inquiries. A few weeks later, the investigator shows up in Michigan and shows Scott (in a pretty harrowing scene…) a short porn reel that shows his daughter being double-teamed in some scummy hotel room. Apparently, daughter-dearest has turned to a life of b.j.’s and face-baths, either by force or by choice. Furious at this change of events, and by the fact that the investigation is turning up so little info after weeks of “digging” – Scott high-tails it back to L.A. to do some “research” of his own. At first, he goes to local porn shops, whore-houses, etc…with a picture of his daughter and asking a bunch of questions. Naturally, he doesn’t get too far with that route, as everyone just thinks he’s a cop. After a few unsuccessful attempts, he decides to pose as a businessman looking to fund a porn film, and starts making some contacts. This exposes Scott to shady producers, pimps, whores, “actors”, and all other types of underground low-lifes. Eventually he hooks up with a small time hooker who knew some of people that hung-out with his daughter. This leads them on a blind chase across California – from L.A., to San Diego, and finally to San Francisco to look for a couple of guys that have been spotted with his daughter, and are into some pretty rough stuff, including making authentic snuff films. Now seriously fearing for his daughter’s life – Scott sets up a meeting with someone who claims to know his daughter…and this leads into the dramatic climax. Will he find his daughter? Will she still be alive? If so, why did she leave – was it by choice or force? Sound interesting?…it is, and you should find out for yourself… Although I didn’t get to personally witness it, I’m highly interested in the 70’s/early 80’s era of grindhouse and porn as it was such an experimental and subversive time for underground films, and HARDCORE captures the “feel” of the era perfectly. The film itself is great in every way, and also explores a lot of subjects, without ever becoming “preachy”. There’s the “fish out of water” tale of this religious man thrown in amongst pimps and whores and porn, and it’s interesting to watch Scott adapt to his surroundings in order to find his daughter. There’s a “cautionary tale” about running out on your own at a young age and trusting untrustworthy people. There’s a story about the breakdown of family, and the gap between parents and children that oftentimes parents either overlook or deny entirely – and of course the story of the pitfalls of sex and drugs. But again, I feel that HARDCORE portrays these situations in a fair and honest light, and doesn’t seem to really cast “judgement” on many of the characters, as can be seen in some of the amusing and truly touching conversations between Scott and the young hooker he enlists to help him. As the film itself goes – I can’t think of a single flaw with it. Obviously an early precursor (and superior film in general) to the Nicholas Cage vehicle, 8MM, which deals with much of the same subject matter – I’ve tried to think of a reason to NOT give HARDCORE a 10/10, as I don’t tend to throw perfect ratings out lightly – but I honestly can’t think of a damn thing that I didn’t like about this film. The story was interesting, well-paced, and at points harrowing and suspenseful. The acting was superb by all involved. The direction was perfect and really caught the grittiness of the underground sex-scene – and it wouldn’t be one of MY reviews if I didn’t mention the pretty abundant amount of nudity, including a little bit of brief full-frontal (goes to show that even in a more “serious” film – nekkidness ALWAYS has it’s place). I really can’t find a flaw in this film and highly suggest it to those that are interested in this era of underground films, or are just looking for a good, suspenseful crime/mystery style film…10/10
Country: United States
Language: English, Spanish
Duration: 108 min
Genre: Crime, Drama
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