When the daughter of devoutly religious midwestern businessman Jake Van Dorn (George C. Scott) disappears on a trip to Los Angeles sponsored by the family’s Calvinist church, Jake’s search for his daughter, Niki (Season Hubley), leads him into a shocking world of pornography. HARDCORE, an early venture from writer-director Paul Schrader, features what may be Scott’s best performance (this side of PATTON) as a man shattered by his daughter’s descent into the world of porn. In California, Jake hires Andy Mast (Peter Boyle), a sleazy Hollywood private detective, to help him find Niki; the two descend into the sordid realm of the hardcore sex industry, determined to retrieve her. An intentionally jarring shift of tones via editing techniques, the inherent strong material of the story, and interesting comparisons between conservative religious fanaticism and the porn industry give HARDCORE a unique depth in its portrayal of a man whose moral compass is suddenly put into question. —Yahoo Movies
Raised in a strict religious household in Michigan, writer/director Paul Schrader studied theology at Calvin College and didn’t see a movie until he was in his late teens. His stern background would fuel many of the themes throughout his career: downbeat stories of characters who violently break down in oppressive situations. Transfixed by the cinema and encouraged by critic Pauline Kael, he moved to Los Angeles and became a film scholar at U.C.L.A. He wrote movie reviews for newspapers, edited the magazine Cinema, and wrote the highly influential critical essay “The Trancendental Style: Ozu, Bresson, Dryer.” After a period of heavy drinking and serious depression, he sold his first screenplay, The Yakuza, a Japanese thriller co-written with his brother, Leonard, and Robert Towne. The next year, Schrader wrote Taxi Driver, the grim tale of urban alienation. Taxi Driver started his successful collaborative relationship with director Martin Scorsese, another… read more
A nice reworking of Taxi Driver, but I felt that Schrader gave it a higher level than most reworkings by giving the "damsel" a bit more complexity. A challenging role for George C. Scott too.