Hard Candy

2006 · Lionsgate/Vulcan Films
Hard Candy — Movie Review by Karthik
8 out of 10
Directing Credits
David Slade
Writing Credits
Written by Brian Nelson
Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson, Sandra Oh, Jennifer Holmes

The Review

Hayley Stark (Ellen Page) is a 14-year old girl who is chatting with Jeff (Patrick Wilson), a 32-year old photographer, online.  Apparently, this correspondence has been going on for some time.  That day, the two decide to meet at a coffee shop.  After some talk, Jeff takes Hayley to his house, and they have some drinks.

Up until this point, everything seems normal, except for a slightly uneasy feeling — while Jeff seems like a normal man, he has, after all, brought a teenager to his house; and his intentions are unclear.  Suddenly, Jeff passes out, and when he wakes up, he realises he's tied to a chair.  It is revealed that Hayley was the one who drugged him — and this is where the film kicks in with its psychological games and its plot of revenge!

Is Jeff really a pedophile?  While he claims to be a photographer who has shot various subjects, why does he only have pictures of young girls in his house?  What exactly did he do?  Hayley seems to know more than we, the audience do, but is she right in what she is doing?  Does Jeff really deserve to go through what is happening to him?

Hard Candy is an independent film made for under a million dollars by music video director David Slade.  Without a doubt, it is an excellent film, primarily due to two aspects.  One is the extraordinary acting by the two leads.  When you consider that they're onscreen for the majority of the film (there are only five characters in the movie, and apart for the leads, the others have only very brief appearances), their performances are essentially carrying the film.  Secondly, the photography (Jo Willems) is beautiful.  Every shot looks like it's from the interior of a glossy magazine — and therefore you'll never suspect that the film was shot on a very low budget.  A lot of the film utilises tight close-ups of the actors, and there is use of various palettes to convey mood.

Though the film largely consists of just two people inside a house, it has a sense of intensity throughout.  Very well done indeed!  Be warned though, that the movie is definitely not for everyone and there is one sequence in particular that is quite difficult to watch (though you never have any "objectionable" material actually shown on screen, what's suggested is quite powerful).

Other Notes

The term "hard candy" is slang for an underage girl.

Director David Slade's next film will be the adaptation of the the Steve Niles comic book 30 Days of Night, which I eagerly look forward to!

More Details

Running Time: 104 minutes | Country: US | Genre: Thriller/Drama

Ratings Info

I rate all movies or game add-ons on a scale of 1 to 10 points.  1 is the lowest score, 6 is barely above average, 8 is good, and 10 is excellent (this score doesn't indicate something that is perfect in every way — it just means that I enjoyed it a lot).  You'll find that I tend to give ratings of 8 and above often (that's only because I enjoy whatever I'm reviewing!).  Reviews are updated as felt necessary.  Of course, everything said in these reviews is my humble opinion only.
Review Date 15 Oct 06
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The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

Email: karthik82 -AT- gmail -DOT- com
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