This is an underrated classic. George C. Scott gives a very powerful and emotional performance as religious Jake VanDorn whose daughter Kristen has gone missing. He soon learns from a private detective that she is starring in porn films. We then follow Jake as he is forced to betray his values and gets caught in a world of pornography and prostitution, as he tries to track down Kristen. This is a solid drama that is entertaining and gripping. Though it seems a little dated now and may not be as shocking as it once was. It is still an intense insight into the desperate underground world of sin. When Jake enlists the help of prostitute Niki (Season Hubley) the relationship between the pair is emotional and touching. As Niki opens naive Jake's eyes to the dark seedy world he knows nothing about. But she is also naive herself in thinking that Jake will take her away from a life of vice. Peter Boyle gives an amazing turn as a sleazy private investigator. And this film for me also has one of the most powerful moments of acting ever. When unsuspecting Jake (who has never seen a porno) is made to sit alone in a dark theatre watching a film of his daughter Kristen performing sex acts. The range of emotions he goes through in such a short space of time is astounding. First you see his confusion then slowly shock. He then becomes so sickened and disgusted by what he is being forced to see. He screams in outrage turn it off, turn it off! It's a scene that is truly brutal. And also a reminder of what an outstanding actor George C. Scott was. If you have seen 8mm I highly recommend you see this.
george c scott is brilliant. synopsis mr scott is a god fearing man whose daughter disapears.as he trys to find out what has happened to her he makes the gut wrenching discoverie that she is making porn films.this is a disturbing film along the lines of 9mm with nick cage.
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Ignore the intro ; cheesey country music , sets out of Macmillan and wife and the hair cuts too , yes this is 70s but it becomes a really good film . Worth watching for Scotts ridiculous clothes when he pretends to be in porn rather than a christain father , The end is rather Streets of san fransisco good guys win but it is not a bad movie to watch , if only for the quaint porn/strip/sleeze of how things were in a more "innocent" time .
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Into the heart of darkness...16 Sept. 2004
- Published on Amazon.com
Businessman Jake Van Doren's(George C. Scott in a riveting, brilliant performance) life and his deeply held religious beliefs are shaken to their core. Van Doren's teenage daughter doesn't return from a church outing. Worried, Van Doran hires a private detective Andy Mast(Peter Boyle)to help track her down. What Mast returns with shakes Van Doren Calvinist faith. His daughter has been appearing in cheap porno movies. Van Doren realizes the only way to bring his daughter back from this seamy, sordid world is if he goes to get her himself. He poses as a porno producer to get leads that will take him to his daughter in hopes that he can get her back before something truly horrible happens to her.
This riveting drama from Paul Schrader ("Taxi Driver")clearly draws from some of Schrader's own convictions and religious beliefs. His upbringing as a Calvinist influences and informs the character of Van Doren. Scott, Boyle "Outland", "Everybody Loves Raymond"), Dick Sargant ("Bewitched"), Season Hubley and Marc Alaimo ("Star Trek: Deep Space Nine")The DVD transfer looks crisp and sharp. Unfortunately, the age of the film and the film stock means that it does look grainy but that actually works in favor of the story capturing the harsh look of porno movies and giving a gritty reality to the film.
There's no extras on the film which is a pity. I would love to have heard Schrader's comments on the making of the film 25 years later. While George C. Scott isn't around any longer, Season Hubley and Peter Boyle could also have provided a commentary track (and it would have been less expensive to produce than a featurette on the making of the film). It seems to me I recall a vintage promo piece that was aired on TV during its theatrical run. Including that along with some updated interviews with Boyle, Hubley and producer Buzz Feitshans would have provided extra value here but, knowing the limited budget the producer of the DVD had to work with, it was probably cost prohibitive. It's a pity as this terrific but brutal film certainly deserves far better than just a standard transfer without any extras.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
THE SEARCHERS hits the porno circuit9 Aug. 1999
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Schrader's HARDCORE has been one of my favorite films ever since I first saw it nearly 25 years ago. Scott is as good as I've ever seen him, and Season Hubley makes me wish she'd had this kind of material for more of her career. But speaking of material, it's Paul Schrader's script and directing that make this thing run. Though the ending is a bit contrived, there are scenes that seem so *real*; there are others that seem so *surreal*. There are others that seem to be both, and those are the ones that always get me. Schrader's Calvinist background collides violently with the latter 20th century, and the results are frequently amazing and quite thought-provoking. For its seedy subject matter, this is a radically religious, moral, and ethical film, and a worthy successor to Schrader's TAXI DRIVER script. Get this title on DVD if it's ever available in that format! A must for every serious film collection!
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A Fathers Worst Nightmare24 Feb. 2006
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Hadn't seen this movie in quite a few years. I thought I would check it out when it came out on DVD. This is a story about a Michigan man who is a single parent and lives in a good Christian extended family that he is very close to. His 15 year old daughter inexplicably runs away from home which leads the father to hire a private eye to find her. After several agonizing months the private eye comes to Grand Rapids and takes the father to a dirty movie theater he has rented out and shows him a pornographic film that his daughter is in. The father then goes on a quest to the big city to find his daughter.
George C. Scott is the star of the movie as the anguished father. Peter Boyle also shines as the private investigator. This movie is rated R for obvious reasons. It is a kind of fish out of water movie as this devout Christian father plummets into the depths of the seedy underbelly of the adult entertainment business in the 70's. It is a search that takes him to the most nasty of places, peep shows, massage parlors, S&M places and to the set of porno movies. He also meets and deals with all the people that are a part of this world. Scotts portrayal of the father is fascinating. Seeing him cringe and then become completely undone as he sees his daughters fate on screen is a fathers worst nightmare and he brings that thru to you. He also is like a powder keg as he deals with these scummy people knowing that his daughters life is at risk.
Boyle is the P.I. who is totally grey through out most of the movie. He is self serving and out for his own interest but he is also an ally to Scott who knows the underbelly of the big city and who and where to look. But he also has his own motives and is hardly a white knight who feels little sympathy for the fathers plite.
Pretty good movie. It is dated but that doesn't hurt this film because it shows the period and social stigmas and mores of this time. Check it out but its not for everyone. If you are a George C. Scott fan it is a must.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
an investigation in two "hardcore" worlds21 May 2007
S. A DUNN
- Published on Amazon.com
In this movie, we see the dichotomy and similarities of people who live "hardcore."
First we see the "hardcore" world of straightlaced Jake VanDorn (George C. Scott.) He lives in a world so structured that everything in his life is alphabetized in his hardcore religious faith. It is such a world that drove away his wife and drove away his daughter to seek warmth in another world equally as hardcore- the sleazy world of the sex industry.
These two worlds collide in the movie "Hardcore." The worlds are completely alien to each other. There is no compromise in either of the worlds. Although the whore Scott befriends and uses (Season Hubley) attempts to draw similarities in these worlds, (Jake feels so little about sex that he dose not even do it and she feels so little about sex that she dose not care who she does it with,) both attiudes are extremely jaded.
You get the feeling of nostalgic timebase in this movie. This was before the videotape and internet sex revolution. This was the times of the smaller church congregations, before the 10,000 seat megachurches. This was before the times when men could see on the satellite television what used to be shown in peepshows and 8 mm films.
lots of symbolism was shown in this film. My favorite example was after the snuff film producer "Rattan" was shot. He stumbles down the sidewalk bleeding to death then smashes his head in a window display of a porn theater. The next window display has a pornographic image, and the writing above it "love act". Could it portray the death of Rattan as a love act in his twisted world?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Descent into a dark realm.....20 Feb. 2003
Nehal D. Patel
- Published on Amazon.com
... As I had a pre-existing interest in the darker aspect of human sexuality, I was intrigued by the content of this film. George C. Scott's character gradually descends into a realm of the human experience which he finds disturbing & shocking. It's a realm where sexual deviancy exists. It's a realm which is diametrically opposed to his conservative religious beliefs. One scene which remains imprinted upon my mind involves Scott's character entering a sadomasochistic establishment to track down one of the pornographers who knows the whereabouts of his lost daughter. During this sequence of scenes, Scott's character is enraged as he rampages through various chambers within the establishment; each chamber contains different bondage paraphernalia and is bathed in a different colored light. This is an eerie but surreal sequence of scenes. It's quite effective; it conveys the twisted & warped atmosphere of the dark region of the human experience Scott's character has finally infiltrated in a desperate attempt to locate his missing daughter. One of the most frightening aspects of the film is the allusion to snuff pornography. ...