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In this remake of the classic 50s SF tale, a boy tries to stop an invasion of his town by aliens who take over the the minds of his parents, his least-liked schoolteacher and other ... See full summary »
A wandering soldier finds a robot head in the post-apocalyptic desert. He brings it back to his girlfriend for use in one of her sculptures. He investigates the origin of the head, and discovers it's from the Mark 13 project, canceled because of unreliability. His girlfriend, nay, society at large become endangered when the robot puts itself back together using the parts she has for her sculptures. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
When Shades is preparing to jump past the malfunctioning slide doors, a flyer of Mona Lisa (1986) can be seen in the background. Both this movie and Mona Lisa were produced by Stephen Woolley and Nik Powell. See more »
After Jill attacks it with the buzz-saw, the Mark 13 steps back: if you look closely, you can see the legs of the man underneath the droid suit. The same thing can be seen towards the end as Jill and the robot are entering the bathroom. See more »
I must admit I am a huge fan of this under-estimated, enigmatic South African director.
Like his magnificent masterpiece, Dust Devil, Hardware deals with similar themes - the desert, the Old Testament, and sexual violence.
I first saw this movie many years ago when still basically a kid before I went to film school and certain sequences have stayed with me forever.
Watching it again in 2005 the movie seems a little dated or rather post-rock video in places, but when it was made in 1990, this was all cutting-edge stuff. I am not giving anything away by saying that the plot is in many ways a re-working of The Terminator or Alien, when Dylan McDermott gives his girlfriend Jill (played by Stacey Travis)what he thinks is a load of unusual scrap metal salvaged from the desert. She is an artist and welds these robot parts to a sculpture she is making...
This is an extremely visceral movie, laced with religious iconography (mark-13 often adopts crucifixion poses and in the shower scene at the end, appears to be in a prayer position) and boosted by an extremely eclectic and unusual cast. Motorhead singer Lemmy crops up playing a sort of ferryman, Iggy Pop plays DJ Angry Bob, and John Lynch is excellent as my favourite character from this film, Shades.
The narrative is essentially straight-forward but what makes this movie different and memorable is Stanley's vision. The mise-en-scene is bleached red (post-appocalypse), the use of montage is often extremely effective and nightmarish and I was frequently reminded when watching it of Renaissence paintings, just in glimpses here and there (hell, maybe that's just me..!) There is also some American comment in this movie; mark-13 is adorned with a stars-and-stripes, and the deadly toxin it employs is described as 'smelling like apple pie'. This of course is akin to Dust Devil, where the demon is simply called 'Texas' by Wendy.
So, to conclude, if you haven't seen this movie or heard of this director before I urge you to seek him out. Anyone with a love for avant-garde and challenging cinema (like me) should have heard of this guy (proper auteur by the way) and his thematically-consistent visions.
This is still a fine film but probably hasn't aged as well as it might have done - it's strength is that it is far more complex than it first appears to be.
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