Hardcore must be the most perversely priggish movie in the history of the American cinema. It's impossible to think of another film that approaches its bizarrely knotted interweaving of prurience and dismay, lurid excitement and icy disgust…. [Paul Schrader has] combined his personal background and his violent obsessions into a single, uneasy package. Schrader's story is about the moral testing of a religious man—Jake VanDorn …, a businessman in Grand Rapids who adheres to the Calvinist absolutism of the Dutch Reformed Church.
The premise is simple: VanDorn's teenage daughter, Kristen, mysteriously runs away during a trip to Los Angeles and joins the porno-movie and sex-show underworld....
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