Right now, at the South by Southwest film festival, there is an upcoming film known as Hardcore Henry that is turning heads, for a lot of good reasons. The film has a unique method of telling its story as it feels like one long take from a first-person point of view.
The Verge talks about Russian filmmaker Ilya Naishuller, who is about to release his feature debut with a film that has a very original premise: it is told from a first person point-of-view as if it was shot on a GoPro. The audience is actually in the head of the main character Henry, who is constantly on the run and fighting from all kinds of foes in his way.
The film has a trailer that can be seen below, and just watching a few minutes of it is a non-stop action rush. Now imagine that for an hour and a half. The plot synopsis on imdb states that the main character remembers nothing, but he is brought back to life by his wife. Then the wife is kidnapped, and the main character has to rescue her from Akan, a powerful warlord with an army of mercenaries. Helping Henry out is Jimmy (Sharlto Copley), who may or may not be trusted.
Sharlto Copley is a name that is familiar to you if you like District 9, Elysium, and CHAPPiE, and he described Hardcore Henry as "the most challenging of his acting career". What is strange is that on the cast list there is no character named Henry, but director Ilya Naishuller is credited as "Tim".
So what was the inspiration for this film? Ilya Naishuller bought a GoPro, and started filming videos for snowboarding, even though he was admittedly not good at it. He then took a shot at making a five-minute film called "Bad Motherf___er", which got 32 million views on YouTube. The music video is an action film with a first-person point-of-view, and it got the attention of Russian filmmaker of Timur Bekmambetov, who directed Wanted and the upcoming remake of Ben-Hur.
Bekmambetov has stated that he is not looking for "good, predictable filmmakers". It is pretty clear that Hardcore Henry is pretty original, at least in its method of storytelling. It is quite possible that Hardcore Henry will become a hit, and many other filmmakers will attempt to repeat this style. The same thing happened to The Blair Witch Project back in 1999, which was followed by several found-footage movies that still continue to this day.
It is interesting that this film is coming out when it is, as 2016 is going to be flooded with Virtual Reality. It would be interesting to see a filmmaker use a 360-degree camera to create a film that could be watched in Virtual Reality, so the viewer could turn his or her head and see even more action with multiple viewings. The film does have a lot more in common with first-person shooter video games, but the film will only advance its story one way.
For those that want to see if Hardcore Henry will be a hit, the film will hit theaters on April 8th.