Hard Core Logo is a Canadian “mockumentary” released in 1996 and directed
by Bruce McDonald. It documents the reunion of a once famous punk band named
Hard Core Logo and is regarded as one of the best Canadian films ever made.
The plot is as
follows: lead singer Joe Dick reunites his old band Hard Core Logo for an
anti-gun benefit concert after his personal mentor, Bucky Haight, is rumoured
to be shot and left without his legs. This springs a 5 night tour across
Canada, but everything within the band is far from perfect. As tensions
steadily rise and their van breaks down, they end up staying with Bucky and
it’s revealed that Joe made everything up in order to get the band back
together, causing Bucky to feel used and turn his back on him. On the final
night, Joe discovers his right hand man and guitarist, Billy Tallent, is
leaving to join a different band, one that can give him fame and recognition.
Betrayed, Joe attacks him on stage and later that night, after a drink with the
documentary crew, he shoots himself in the head, ending the film.
psychological problems play a big part in this film, with each band member
struggling with their own personal demons. The band and music were everything
to Joe, causing him to use his mentor in order to relive the old days and
eventually take his own life when everything ends and falls apart. Billy sees a
better life for himself in a mainstream band, which leads the other members to
call him a “sell-out” and mock him for his choices. John Oxenberger,
the bassist, is schizophrenic and loses his medication while on the road,
leading him to slowly lose his sanity too as the miles drag on. Finally there’s
the drummer, Pipefitter, who is mainly just along for the ride and the drugs.
Early on in the
film, we learn that Hard Core Logo had a chance to make it big when they were
first together, but Joe wrecked the chance for them and there’s some degree of
resentment towards him for that, especially from Billy. For Joe, making music
has never been about fame or money, it’s about having something to say and
that’s why he views Billy leaving as such a huge betrayal, as well as the fact
that Billy was doing it behind his back. It’s clear that Joe is the most
invested and also the one it means the most to, so much so that he pays the
ultimate price for it.
Overall, this is a
very realistic feeling film that gets slightly more uncomfortable as it
progresses. By the end, the viewer is left with an almost depressed sensation
due to the emotional weight of the story and the outstanding job done by the
actors bringing it to life.