Posted Apr 13 2016

Hardcore Henry - This Gimmicky Movie Moves Furiously More Than It Rocks

Dir: Illya Naishuller

Starring Sharlto Copley, Danila Koslovsky, Tim Roth, Haley Bennett

After years of cinema trying to adapt the video game into movie form, director Naishuller has gone the other way round and tried to turn a movie in at least the aesthetic of the game. And whilst it is notably batshit crazy, it falls between the two stools of success and failure.

On the plus side, it is certainly frenetic, as POV hero Henry – in reality a whole bunch of cameramen with a Go Pro strap on, and some super sneaky editors – marauds his way through the streets of Moscow and various surrounds in an attempt to stop an army of similar beings being raised by the curiously super-powered uber-villain Akan (an ‘80s throwback Kozlovsky.) Not that plot matters…

Plus, you have the usually dreadful Sharlto Copley playing a variety of Jimmys (and singing Sinatra en masse), half of who seem to be channelling Tim Roth – who also shows up briefly!

This is a gimmick, an experiment, and for all its faults, sometimes an accomplished one. It is at its worst when aping Call of Duty et al, and at its best when visually evoking A Clockwork Orange or simply defying vertigo and faking us into believing it’s real. It plays like long takes, but we’re all a little too savvy now to know it’s real. YET when it stops us from being that savvy and makes us go with it – which it does at times – it has its odd moments.

An experiment – yes. The future of cinema and gaming both – definitely no.


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