7/25/2006

Hard Candy

If you have not yet seen the film, there will be some spoilers in here for you! So if you do not wish to find out, or rather, work out the ‘twist’ I suggest you avert your eyes.

I went to see Hard Candy on a whim, I had heard that it was good and it was out of it, or the Lake House, feeling like watching a more intellectually challenging than the romantic remake, I decided upon Hard Candy, a film based on the hot-topic of chat room meetings.

Because you all love to hear the comings and goings on when I frequent the cinema, watching Hard Candy was particularly strange, as the staff had not turned the lights on in the screen, so it was difficult to find my seat and took me about twenty minutes until I could find it. The other patrons watching it were also out of the ordinary, not to be stereotypical at all, but they were pretty much all (although this was only 3) very old men, which I thought strange as old people don’t tend to frequent our ‘popular’ cinema, unless Johnny Cash is involved.

Directed by David Slade –who is up for directing 30 days of night, which will hopefully be interesting- Starring Patrick Wilson (Jeff Kohlver), Ellen Page (Hayley Stark), Sandra Oh (Judy Tokuda) and Jennifer Holmes (Janelle Rogers) making up a very small cast, which you really do not see these days, as the film is much more centrally character based than story.

I suppose the film’s synopsis was what drew me to the film –correct me if I’m wrong- but it’s the first film (tv seems to do it a lot) to touch on the subject of people meeting through internet chat rooms, and the idea of the male counterpart being in trouble made much speculation as to how the film could follow through.
So basically the film is about Hayley (14), who meets Jeff (23) over a chat room, and the two meet, she is very forward with him, and eventually it leads to him drugged and tied up in a chair, subjected to torture and the like, as she tries to have him confess that he (along with another person), murdered a young girl who had met a person over the internet.

Above all –and not surprisingly being a Lionsgate film- the film is extremely visceral, and very does little more than it says on the tin. With such subject matter the film could appeal to pretty much anyone, it’s a very hard film to peg to a particular audience, and while it is an eighteen; I am a little unsure why… from what I recall the film itself contained little in the way of violence, (the BBFC chops it down to ‘strong sadistic violence’) perhaps it is simply the situation, speculation and subject matter that gives it such strong a rating.

Now, with this film I can say that the main –and really only actual characters- characters played their parts flawlessly. Thankfully they cast Ellen Page (as Hayley); who despite being 18, looks very convincing as a 14-year-old (unlike some films that cast people in their twenties-thirties as teenagers.) I must say that –in my opinion- she played the role exactly as she should have, because I hated her like crazy, and I believe this was what they were trying to do. While all the time you are left sympathising with Jeff, who is all innocent and tortured and scared for his life due to the crazy 14-year-old. Then comes the twist –after the very long ‘torture’ sequence- and after watching the film for an hour-and-a-half you seem to understand what exactly is going on. The twist may be a shock, or you may have seen it coming. Personally I saw it coming in the back of my mind, but was kind of hoping otherwise.
Unlike I usually do, I wont disclose the twist because as simple as it is, it is also pretty effective.

The story was great, something new and not yet investigated before, albeit the idea of a 14-year-old getting the better of a 23-year-old is a little ‘out there’ it is also very believable in the context of the film. You’ve got a young girl who isn’t perfect, she keeps making mistakes, and he almost gets the better of her, but all the while through the clever writing makes for an extremely engrossing experience, Hayley’s dialogue really makes it seem like she is particularly enjoying herself, and Jeff’s whining and reasoning really makes you empathize with his situation and makes you want him to escape.

The best points in the film –as I believe I’ve probably already pointed out- were most definitely the acting from both Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page, who had me involved with their characters.
The other point of course is the current subject matter, thinking on the matter they could have taken the story any way possible, but the film itself was delivered greatly, the torture scene was one that shall be remembered for years to come (or it should be) though I must say I saw outcome of the torture from a mile off.
I did also particularly love it when everything started to go a little pear shaped for Hayley.

It really is true that when you try to remember something from some time ago you only remember the good points, and in writing this review it is very true. I can only remember fantastic parts of the film, and other than saying I hated Hayley’s character simply because I wanted to kill the girl there is little else I can complain about, even though my point should not be taken as a bad thing. David Slade wanted you to hate her, to want to kill her, because then you’re just as bad as Jeff.

The film was very much a new experience, filmed with a very gritty look and two actors before now I’d never heard of, a greatly enjoyable film, I suppose I can recommend it as pretty much a revenge film, nothing too clever, but not over the top ridiculous, maybe I could relate it on par to that of Oldboy or Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, but then I suppose maybe that isn’t a correct judgement…

Cptalbertwesker Rating – 7/10
Nice film, great acting, interesting subject matter, nice twists and turns along the way.

On another note, I have noticed a few regular people reading my blog, please don’t just lurk around in the shadows, comment on my blog, comments make me happy :D

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