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Fantasia 2019: Hard-Core(2018) Movie Review

Hard-Core
2018 124 min.
JAPAN

We follow Ukon, a down and out, disenfranchised, slightly alcoholic, but highly honorable protagonist. His best friend is Ushiyama, a simple oaf with a heart of gold who clearly suffers from social and learning disabilities. They are not only loyal to each other, but also co-work together in the evisceration of a mine. According to their strange and aging boss, there be gold up in them hills! Brother Sakon also makes appearances to either help his brother get out of trouble or just to smugly judge him on his life style.

It is a monotonous, melancholy, somewhat miserable unhappy existence for the two friends but that perspective is quickly challenged when Ushiyama discovers a robot in the factory he is squatting in. Dubbed ROBO, this machine is a lot more complex then the two best friends first realize. Sakon tries to relay this to older brother, but that only angers Ukon as little brother's greed is apparent. Can these three find love, belonging, stay out of trouble, out of jail, and perhaps even their place in the world that has either rejected them or placed them in a specific mold? Can it be broken.

A strange entry in this year's FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL 2019. Strange but heartfelt. Superb acting elevates the simple story of three souls lost in societies expectations. And speaking of expectations, make sure to stick to the very last second of the film as what you think you may know changes within the final five minutes.

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