Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hard Candy

Title: Hard Candy (2005)
Dir: David Slade
Rating: *** out of 5 stars

Hard Candy is a controversial film about a 14-year old girl (Ellen Page) who meets an older man (Patrick Wilson) from the internet, who may or may not be a sexual predator. As she turns the tables on him, the line between predator and prey becomes blurred. Firstly, I must admit the idea is provokative and bold. Just look at that poster - at first glance you think it's a young girl about to be ensared, but really the girl is bait to trap a predator. I love this idea.

Unfortunately, the film started losing me toward the end. The filmmakers succeeded in making me shift my sympathies between the two characters, but ultimately the story lacked a point. And it veers off on a tangent involving a murder that completely throws off the story. The ending just left me wondering: What's the point? Where is the moral lesson here? The movie started off strong and disturbing, but just couldn't hold onto me.

On the brighter side, the actors were really amazing. Page delivers an intense performance that is mature beyond her years, and Wilson easily slides between sleazy and sympathetic. I also liked the cinematography. It was simple, dark, and perfectly suited to the film. And as I said, the basic idea is great, even though the script lost its touch eventually.

Hard Candy is a complicated movie, and I can imagine people absolutely loving it. But for me personally, there was something missing. It's still a pretty interesting movie and I'd probably even recommend seeing it once. But it could've been so much more.