Hardcore Henry: Ground-Breaking or Failed Experiment?
On the 8th April, Hardcore Henry will officially hit UK cinemas. It’s the first action feature film to be filmed 100% from the hero’s perspective. Clearly inspired by first-person-shooter video games, the film uses mostly GoPro cameras combined with custom-built rigs in order to achieve this effect.
In the run up to it’s release Hardcore Henry has split opinion, with some calling it one of the most ground breaking films of it’s time; and others labeling it as an experiment destined to fail.
The first person/POV style is nothing new; it’s been alive in cinema for quite a while now. It made its first appearance all the way back in 1947 when Robert Montgomery made Lady in the Lake. In modern cinema, it’s been a technique that we’ve only really seen in short action sequences. The latest example being Sasha Baron Cohen’s film Grimsby. Where the audience is put in the shoes of Agent Graves as he fights his way through an action-packed scene. Indie filmmakers have also been using this technique for their short films for many years.
But this is the first time that a full POV film has made it’s way into mainstream modern cinema. So it has to be considered a milestone in that respect.
Whilst this technique does works well in small doses, there are opinions that the novelty of the technique will wear off quickly during a 90-minute feature film. There’s the risk that the film will be too unrelenting and even nauseating for the audience, leaving it open to collapsing in a rush of well-intended innovation.
Whatever the reviews say, Hardcore Henry should be applauded.
Experimentation is how things develop and grow. Most of the time experiments fail, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. Hardcore Henry has pushed the use of first-person to its very limits. Is it going to win an Oscar? No. But what it probably will do is help inspire future filmmakers who could use this technique to make something truly great.
If you haven’t seen it already, the trailer is below. However, if you suffer with motion sickness, you might want to give this a miss.