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Hardcore 1979 ***

Writer and director Paul Schrader has never been afraid to look at the seedy side of life; his follow up to his Taxi Driver script takes a conservative man Jake VanDorn and rubs his nose in the worst excesses of the pornographic film industry. Played by George C Scott, VanDorn is a deeply religious man searching for his missing daughter, and struggling to navigate an immoral LA world of cheap depravity with the help of a low-rent detective (Peter Boyle). Hardcore in a hard watch, but deserves respect for taking an non-titillating view of an exploitive industry, and it questions the motives behind both VanDorn’s search as well as the business instincts of the repellent characters he encounters. The exploitation of young men and women in pornography is a difficult subject to dramatize subjectively, but Schrader’s sobering film captures the bleakness of the exploited and those they leave behind.

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