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Hardcore Never Dies - Film

  by Maarten Schiethart

published: 19 / 1 / 2024

Hardcore Never Dies - Film


Maarten Schiethart introduces us to an unusual Dutch crime drama set against a 1990s hardcore rave backdrop.

Set in the 1990s, ‘Hardcore Never Dies’ is a crime drama that takes the Rotterdam hardcore scene of the rave era as its backdrop. Against that scene we meet brothers Danny and Michael. Michael picks tomatoes and is talented at the piano. Danny, his elder brother, wheels and deals, much to the shame of his family, who work hard and waste nothing, while Danny splashes it out, be it on loan or stolen. The film's very accurate sets show the deft hand of the director Jim Taihuttu: in the scene when a gang came to smash up Danny's apartment, I almost felt sorry for the analog equipment and vintage 12in records that got battered or shattered. Taihuttu's previous film, ‘The East (De Oost)’, on Dutch warfare in Indonesia, was a box office hit in 2020. Michael dreams of being a professional pianist but can’t get through his education, and finds himself being drawn into Danny’s world, of the Rotterdam “gabber” scene. The music we came to know as gabber describes the era little more than as background noise. Always near the surface, the terrordome gabber soundtrack takes you by the hand in a doomy grip, as gloom and doom likewise loom over the two brothers. As the story continues, Michael finds himself not just entering Danny’s world of gabber but also his drug dealing, and the stakes only get higher as Michael finds himself further and further involved. Taihuttu saves his best for the film’s climax, involving an encounter with the far right and a drug rip-off. The film is co-produced by Amazon and likely to go worldwide, with a script unlike almost any film made in The Netherlands, with dialogue true to everyday speech on the streets. It’s a document and a testament to a subversive culture that’s now heavily criminalized.

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