Made in: Greece
Language: Greek
Director: Dennis Iliadis
Starring: Danai Skiadi, Katerina Tsavalou, Andreas Marianos, Ioannis Papazisis, Omiros Poulakis
Year: 2004

Synopsis: In the seedy part of Athens, Greece, teenage prostitutes Martha (Katerina Tsavalou) and Nadia (Danai Skiadi) form an unlikely friendship. Nadia is clever, savvy, and daring. Although more experienced, Martha is timid, burned out, and goes about her "job" with masochistic resignation.

Deprived of a normal childhood and enduring varying degrees of sexual degradation every day, the two fall in love, and hatch grand plans to free themselves from their boss (Andreas Marianos).

Nadia takes advantage of Martha's chronic neediness, and strings her along for a tumultuous journey which involves violence, murder, sex, jealousy, and obligatory drug use...you know, to remind you that is all supposed to be Hardcore!

The Good: The actors were all well cast and looked convincing in their roles. And at some point in the movie, Danai Skiadi's character gets strung out and then sets some dude's helmet on fire, which was pretty rad.

The Bad: But that's about it. Hardcore fancies itself a hard-hitting, gritty tale of survival amidst human depravity. But amazingly, this film involving underage prostitutes, sex, and drugs turns out to be a sluggish, dull mess that isn't very compelling.

Stuff just happens and there's a sequence of events that progress (slowly), but none of it seems to work itself into anything tangible. There are some vague allusions to a sense of liberation that Nadia and Martha want to find, but it all seems so incoherent. About thirty minutes in, watching this movie became the cinematic equivalent of listening to someone who keeps changing the subject every few seconds.

Who would like this movie: Save yourself an hour and forty minutes of your time and avoid this one. Hardcore tries valiantly (or pretentiously) to be a dark urban story about the bad side of city life.

However, the message is jumbled and there's nothing much about the characters or their situation that the audience would want to connect with. The attempts to shock the viewer are too obvious (Oh no! Drugs and sex! Isn't this movie daring?), none of the characters are likeable, and again, the story goes on a lot longer than it needs to.

(1 out of 4 stars)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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