First person shots are nothing new for cinema. Michael Powell‘s creepy Peeping Tom asked us to voyeuristically participate in the stalking of victims; Strange Days allowed its audience the same hit of memory theft its characters were hooked on; the unfortunate Doom adaptation even used the effect as a throwback to the film’s video game origin.
Some feature length films have explored long-form first person shots, such as Gasper Noe‘s disorientating Enter the Void, or the haunting Russian Ark. However, the effect has never been fully utilised for what would seem to be its most fitting format; the action film. Well, that all changes with Hardcore, the first feature from Russian director Ilya Naishuller and executive producer Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Nightwatch).
The film synopsis reads: “You remember nothing. Mainly because you’ve just been brought back from the dead by your wife (Haley Bennett). She tells you that your name is Henry and congratulations, you’re now a cyborg. 5 minutes later, your wife has been kidnapped and you should probably go get her back. Who’s got her? His name’s Akan (Danila Kozlovsky), he’s just a psychotic megalomaniac with telekinetic powers, and a never-ending army of mercenaries. You’re also in an unfamiliar city of Moscow, Russia and everyone wants you dead. Everyone, except for a mysterious British fellow called Jimmy (Sharlto Copley). He might be on your side. Good luck Henry. You’re very much likely to need it“.
Ilya Naishuller has previously directed two point of view shorts, titled Insane Office Escape 1 & 2, which were used as music videos for Russian indie band, Biting Elbows. Check out the first short here. I look forward to seeing the results of such a radical form of film making, especially with an especially insane looking Sharlto Copley seemingly playing multiple roles; though I worry about sufferers of motion sickness in the cinema. Check out the incredibly violent NSFW trailer below.