Compared to the formulaic Hollywood, world cinema is different. Especially, the Russian movies are often innovative, brave, and downright crazy. Ilya Naishuller’s ‘Hardcore Henry’ goes beyond that by introducing a new genre in movie making. It is the only full-length action movie completely shot from the first person perspective.
Rather than using 3D or other gimmicks, Hardcore Henry relies on camera wizardry to put you right in the middle of action. It is reminiscent of most FPS games such as Call of Duty. The movie is about a cybernetic super soldier trying to save his kidnapped wife. The story unfolds from protagonist’s point of view. He is a good listener, mostly because he lacks a speech module. Hence, the lead character resorts to a few hand gesture to express the emotions.
Director, Ilya Naishuller, is a rock star. I’m saying this not because he is amazing, but he is actually a lead vocal for the Russian band Biting Elbows. Ilya experimented with the first person filming technique using a GoPro camera for the band’s music video. It became a web sensation, which inspired Naishuller to consider the feasibility of a full length feature. For the movie, special camera rigs were developed. American company GoPro offered technical assistance to the indie movie makers.
Screened at the Toronto Film Festival, initially the movie was called ‘Hardcore’. However, due to some inappropriate search results attached to the title, the team decided to renamed it to Hardcore Henry. Although the cast of the movie is not very well known, you have District 9 and Elysium fame Sharlto Copley accompanying you through most of the movie.
All these absurdly complex scenes must be CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) right? Well, much like the Mad Max: Fury Road, most of these scenes make use of practical effects. This is why the action feels so raw, intense, and engrossing. Before signing off, do not forget to check out the behind the scene footage: