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Jake Van Dorn is a businessman from the American heartland who shares strong Calvinist convictions with most of his countrymen. His teenage daughter is missing from her church youth convention trip to California and Van Dorn hires a private investigator to find her. The result of the investigation is his daughter is spotted in a cheap X-rated movie. Van Dorn decides to bring her back personally and during the quest he becomes familiar with the pornographic underworld. Written by
Dragan Antulov <email@example.com>
The religion that Jake VanDorn (George C. Scott) was was a Calvinist. Director Paul Schrader once studied to be a minister in the Dutch Christian Reform Church. Schrader actually came from a strict Calvinist upbringing in a family that lived in Grand Rapids, MI where part of this film is set. See more »
Panties suddenly appear on Niki's fully nude body in the peep booth. This goof is seen on old video and cable un-matted versions. (On DVD, the portion showing that Nikki has panties is properly cropped out and doesn't show.) See more »
Paul Schrader, who wrote and directed this film, also wrote the screenplay for "Taxi Driver"; both films were tips of the hat to the classic western, "The Searchers".
The excellent performances by George C. Scott and Peter Boyle are nowhere more apparent than in the scene where Boyle shows the porno flick starring Scott's daughter; he almost has a sadistic gleam in his eye as George C. Scott grips the arms of the chair and screams, "Turn it off... turn it off!!!".
Christians who complain that their faith is often ridiculed by Hollywood should see this movie, in spite of its disturbing subject matter. Scott deftly portrays a man whose religious convictions motivate him into risking his life for his daughter's sake. (Ironically, it may be those same convictions which drove his daughter from him in the first place.)
The only real drawback to this movie was that the "snuff film" element was not really necessary to create a sense of urgency. The urgency was captured perfectly in the "turn it off!" scene; there was really no need for a contrived life-or-death situation. Other than that, "Hardcore" is a gritty, brutal and poignant story.
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