Last night I got to see my first movie on the Warner Brothers lot. As you walk by the stages, the names of some of the iconic movies that have been shot there are on plaques outside. As I walked past one, I saw the name Casablanca, there was so much history here.
I had been invited to view Hardcore Henry by my friend Dominic from Sydney. He goes to the New York Film Academy, and their school had put on this screening of Hardcore Henry. The best part about these screenings is they have a different variety of actors, directors, producers or cinematographers that answer questions after the film. I met Dominic from a reddit meetup group for people who love the show Survivor, random, but we clicked, and are ex pats in LA, chasing our own dreams. The actors we would have for the night played the title character, Henry, Sergey Valyaev and Andrei Dementiev.
The movie reminded me of a single player first person shooter, as it was shot in first person on a go pro. Its plot and scenes reminded me of missions in Call of Duty and Left for Dead. One of the questions to the actors asked if that similarity was intentional, and they said yes, they were gamers, as was the director, Ilya Naishuller, and they were hoping to capture that intensity. The money that is made in every COD release, makes it clear that people love this genre, and if there is a way to tap into that for cinemas, this could be popular style.
Another interesting aspect of listening to the actors, was that they did all the stunts themselves and had started out in Parkour. At first they simply enjoyed Parkour, but after their skills improved, they wanted to start filming what they did and share it. Cameras at first were too clunky to be practical, but once the go pro was invented, it changed everything. The point of view movement exploded, and what they could capture pulled the audience into their world.
Once the actors saw how amazing their videos were turning out, it inspired them to make a music video using this POV style for Biting Elbows, aptly named, Bad Motherfucker. This video was a viral sensation, and lead to the idea to make a full length motion picture. The constant theme that ran through the answers to most of the questions was, you get to where you are bit by bit, step by step. They had been doing Parkour for over 10 years, and started with simply enjoying their passion and deepening their skills.
I thought the movie was excellent. They had a character named Jimmy, played by Sharito Copley, who had been paralyzed by the antagonist of the film, and spends the entire movie trying to help Henry, a creation of the antagonist, to enact his revenge. Jimmy comes alive as an avatar, and kept being reborn as different colourful characters to help evade detection. At some point he looked like a Call of Duty character wearing the ghost perk from Black Ops, another point he was a rock star with a mohawk, or a homeless man drinking vodka on a busy Russian bus. Oh did I mention this was made in Russia by Russians? It was funny hearing the actors say they could do just about anything because it was Russia, I had always wanted to visit, and now I do even more :)
As we were leaving the theatre you could see the iconic Warner Brothers water tower, which for some reason reminds me of Animaniacs haha. I was happy to be in Los Angeles. It can be a tough city to move to, but you have to remember to make time to meet friends. Some of the most creative and interesting people move to LA to dedicate their lives to the arts, which can be unforgiving and risky, but provides such richness to our lives. I love watching movies, playing video games and being an entertainer. If you look in the right places, you'll always have an audience.