Amongst film aficionados, the more simple-minded or shy smut fans, and the strong and growing coterie of Paul Schrader enthusiasts, Hardcore was awaited with special enthusiasm; yet all seem to have walked away in varying degrees of disappointment.
Paul Schrader is one of the seminal figures of the contemporary American cinema. His success is attributable to the creative use of his critical faculty and a commercial deployment of his Calvinism. The result is a body of work that is a bracing commentary on classic and modern Hollywood, and whose bleak vision would make film noir look like musical comedy.
Pauline Kael reviews Paul Schrader’s “Hardcore”