Sunday, September 24, 2006

Hard Candy: Grade A


Hard Candy

Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson, Sandra Oh. Director David Slade

A 14 year old girl (Page) flirts with a 32 yr old photographer online and they agree to a meeting. He invites her to his house, gives her an alcoholic drink, but she turns on him, believing he is a pedophile, and makes him a captive. Shocking developments ensue, in a tense psychological thriller. Sandra Oh has a brief appearance as a neighbor; the rest is cat and mouse between the two principals. Ellen Page dominates the screen throughout with a riveting performance.

After the climactic scene, the final ending seems like an add-on, a twist for the sake of twisting. It is not well motivated and retrospectively alters what we think of both characters, in ways that are inconsistent with the first part of the movie.

The story expresses strong cultural revulsion against pedophilia and so much frustration about the law being unable to stop it that vigilantism seems justifiable. Also expressed is every parent’s worst fear about the dangers of computer social networking. None of those issues is addressed directly in the film, but they drive it. Also, while the movie is very intense, it is not creepy. There is no nudity and both characters are treated with respect. Unlike The Woodsman, there is ambiguity in the characters. The DVD extras are highly educational about the process of filmmaking.

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