Hard Candy (2006)
Director: David Slade
Ellen Page/Hayley Stark
A â€śmight be pedophileâ€ť (Wilson) and a young 14 years old girl (Page) meet online and wind up at the pedoâ€™s pad where a deadly game of cat, mouse and cat, to back to mouse follows. Who is the villain?
I knew nothing about Hard Candy before checking it out and that ignorance contributed in me enjoying the flick to a higher degree Iâ€™m sure. So I will grant you the same luxury; I will play the vague card in this review. You see I do give a shite!
Hard Candy was a twisted psychological thriller that was pretty much set in one room, with two actors going at it for the length of its running time. We were first treated to a good old game of psychological warfare with both â€śfightersâ€ť attempting to manipulate each other in the name of having the upper hand in terms of the situation. The back and forth was compelling to say the least with the flick addressing some serious issues. Now that I think about it, this bitter ride pretty much acted like its leads when it came to us, the audience; it manipulated us, made us ask questions, lied to us constantly and messed with our emotional attachments in terms of the fighters in this ring. Yup, the old â€śArrow Grey Matterâ€ť was working overtime on this one. Needless to say, that cranked my dial like nobodyâ€™s clock.
Then we had â€śThe Sceneâ€ť as I will call it. â€śThe Sceneâ€ť was a horrible act committed on one of the leads at some point during this battle of wits and brawl. Lets just say that â€śThe Sceneâ€ť was expertly staged, showing me nothing, yet suggesting so much that my imagination filled in the blanks like thatâ€¦noâ€¦I meanâ€¦LIKE THAT! I was wincing, cringing and tensing up in my seat as if tortured by the angel of death. Talk about making one jerk (being me) uncomfortable! OUCH! "Jenga" on top of that artsy/polished visuals, superb performances by the two players (Ellen Page was a revelation), some riveting physical action and a knack at manipulation that rivaled my cheating ex (whore) girlfriend and you get an infectious watch; one that I couldnâ€™t take my retinas off of.
On a negative hanging: the affair did go on for too long when taking into account the amount of susbstance at hand. I truly believe that some snip-snip (like 10-15 minutes) would made the film much stronger. Furthermore, Iâ€™m all for precautious but the character of Hayley was way too â€śon the ballâ€ť for her young age. I didnâ€™t fully buy it until the second half of the flick kicked in. Lastly the ending didnâ€™t gratify me 100%. I donâ€™t know what I was expecting or wishing for but that wasnâ€™t it. Something was missing.
All in all though; do yourself a favor and suck on this Hard Candy. The themes of murder, deception and pedophilia have been addressed in countless films beforeâ€¦but not like this. WOW!
There wasnâ€™t much â€śgraphicâ€ť gore in this playpen but trust me when I say this: your mind will make it happen.
Patrick Wilson (Jeff) managed to evoke hatred and sympathy out of me throughout. Quite the feat! Good show! Ellen Page (Hayley Stark) was remarkable in communicating the many layers of her character. Sheâ€™s definitely a young actress to watch for!
T & A
Nothing worth mentioning. I didnâ€™t need the flesh coating for this one.
The flick was a delight to stare at! I loved the fast motion, slow motion, blurry vision and the slow/engrossing cam movements. It often felt like an art film mixed in with MTV aesthetics. David Slade is now on my list of promising directors to keep tabs on.
The often techno-ish score perfectly evoked the action onscreen whereas the use of ambient/rumbling sounds was remarkable.
Smart, manipulative, harsh (all about â€śThe Sceneâ€ť), daring and filled with nasty surprises, Hard Candy made for a very rewarding sit down at the movies. Iâ€™m very thankful for the good genre Indies on the block now of late where it seems itâ€™s the only place I can get my full fix. I will admit that the picture wouldâ€™ve benefited from some snip down, the ending somewhat left me cold and yes the young lead did slightly stretch the line of credibility when it came to her maturity, but overall, Hard Candy was a highly challenging, courageous and stirring piece of celluloid. You should all see itâ€¦or tell me to go f*ck myself.
HARD CANDY received both awards for Best Film and Best Script at the 2005 Sitges Film Festival
Ellen page will play Shadow Cat in X-Men 3.
Director David Slade will direct the film adaptation of the graphic novel 30 Days of Night by Steve Niles.
THE OFFICIAL HARD CANDY SITE HERE