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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Hardware (1990).

Sometimes, horror and science fiction are mixed together to create a great film. Alien is a prime example of these genres being mixed to great effect. Hardware is another one of those films that manages to get everything right. From the setting, right down to the script, everything clicks to make a film that goes far beyond it's budget (which was around two hundred thousand pounds).

A man stalks the desert, looking for loot to sell. After entering a fenced off area, he finds a skull like object, amongst other parts of what seem to be a robot. He sells the hand to his trader friend, and gives the robot skull to his girlfriend who adds it into one of her sculptures. Little do they know that this skull is the nerve centre for a military robot who has the capacity to rebuild itself, and has been created for one purpose. To kill.

What I first noticed about this film, apart from having Iggy Pop as a crazy radio host, was the lighting. Everything is bathed in post-apocalyptic colour, and it goes a long way to helping the viewer see just how desolate earth has become. That isn't to say that it isn't full of life, because it is, but it manages to represent what a post apocalyptic earth would look like very well, even with such a small budget.

The film is dark, brutal and disturbing, whilst featuring one of the most intense and suspenseful games of cat and mouse seen outside of the slasher genre. The plot is mesmerising, never letting the viewer breathe, layering on tension with moments of ultra-violence that test the robot's weapons to great effect, showcasing it's merciless directives again and again.

'Hardware' offers style in spades, every shot bathed in a moody red, the landscape at once so ugly yet with monolithic beauty that draws attention to the smallest detail. The film grips you, and won't let go right up until the conclusion, which would take the viewers last breath given the chance.

'Hardware' certainly isn't for anyone. It has a rather arthouse feel, and some of the characters are that despicable, that that factor might very well put the casual viewer off. If you are willing to take a chance on an incredibly well done and violent sci-fi/horror mish-mash, you couldn't do much better than this fine slice of British filmmaking.

Darkest regards......Dani

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