My jaw was open in disbelief as I watched Hardcore Henry. You won’t believe how immersive the experience of watching this first-person narrative can be. You’re jet propelled through the story and woe be the audience member who might be sitting too close to the screen (or had too much to drink beforehand).
I thought I had this film figured out before I saw it. Using a first person point-of-view is a noir device, perhaps the best example being the 1948 Lady in the Lake, starring and directed by Robert Montgomery. Montgomery (father of Bewitched star Elizabeth) plays Philip Marlowe and we see the entire film from his perspective. The only time we actually see Montgomery is one time when he looks into a mirror.
Hardcore Henry is like that only strung out on the most powerful steroids you can imagine. The production used GoPro camera mounted on specially designed helmets (see previous interview with producer Timur Bekmambetov).
The entire encounter feels like you’re thrust into what is popularly known as a first-person-shooter-video-game. At different points during the film I glanced away because it felt like I had a virtual reality helmet on and I was trying to shake the feeling loose.
Henry gains consciousness as his scientist wife is putting his body together. The entire film recounts his attempt to piece together the mystery of his life while also defeating his foe, an albino with psychokinetic powers. The pace and stunts are simply exhilarating.
Hardcore Henry opens in area theaters this weekend.
Black comedies can be made or lost on the quality of the script. Mr. Right, about a likeable hit man played by Sam Rockwell, stands or falls on the quality of the actors.
It’s a pleasure to see wunderkind Anna Kendrick take what on the surface would be an average programmer and turn it into a tour de force for her talent. Kendrick falls for Rockwell only to find that to love him is to kill for and with him. Hilarity ensues. Tim Roth co-stars.
Mr. Right checks into the AMC Studio 30 for a brief engagement this weekend.
— Michael Bergeron