Hardcore Is An Action Movie Entirely In First Person

Yes, the entire movie.

Film is an ever changing art. Every so often, you’ll get a movie that completely changes the rules such as Avatar or Tron. One such film, Hardcore, is trying to accomplish a massive technical achievement: an entire action movie in first person, and what looks like one take.

What movie is this?

It’s called Hardcore. It’s directed by Ilya Naishuller, stars Sharlto Copley, and is produced by Timur Bekmambetov. It’s the feature length version of a first person action short called “Bad Motherfucker” you may have remembered from a couple years ago:

Is this the first movie to do first person like this?

Not at all. The best scene in the 2005 DOOM film was the first person sequence. However, there are films that have done first person moments far before now. An old noir film from 1947, Lady in the Lake has a first person scene that’s one of the most important of the film. Given the time period, the sequence is an incredible achievement and even has a few great mirror shots as well. Check it out:

Has there ever been a movie that’s been one long take before?

A few, though Hardcore couldn’t have been filmed in one take it is presented that way. Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope is a film that is presented as one long take, but is actually 8 long takes cleverly edited to give the appearance of an unbroken shot.

2002’s Russian Ark, on the other hand, is actually an entire movie filmed in one continuous take. Even more impressive is the film features thousands of actors, dancing, orchestras, and was filmed in 33 rooms of a museum.

Is Hardcore a straight action piece?

Yes, but if you noticed there’s a sci-fi twist in places. Sharlto Copley appears to be in the film playing several difference characters. One seems to be a James Bond-esque spy, the other a strip club owner, and another proper British soldier. So, something strange is going on in the story.

Speaking of which what’s the story of the film?

It seems the main character was in an accident, then given cybernetic enhancements. And there’s a guy with telekinesis and an inexhaustible band of mercenaries after him. We’re thinking multiverse stuff is going on, given the fact the same character appears in different roles.

But, really, looking at the clips the story seems very much secondary to the spectacle of the piece. It’s clear the filmmakers want to deliver a visceral action experience rather than using the first person perspective to tell a deep story. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but there shouldn’t be any illusions on what the film is trying to accomplish. It’s going to be an action movie, but it certainly looks like a novel one.


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