Hard Candy

Hard Candy (2005) movie poster

(2005) dir. David Slade
viewed: 09/30/06

I’d read some things about this film, but hadn’t really put it into my Netflix queue, but on a night needing something to watch, it won the battle of indecision and I rented it.  It turns out to be an “indie flick”, whatever that term means these days, but it sort of meets the qualifications of slightly more edgy fare.

The film is about pedophilia, internet stalking, revenge, and “do it at home” castration.  At times, the dialogue and the direction are worse than others, drawing attention to themselves and drawing away from the characters and narrative.  The whole thing is far from excellent, but largely due to the performances of the two leads, it stays afloat.  It’s also a little hard to see exactly where it’s going or how outrageous or radical it might swing.  Ultimately, it didn’t strike as potent an impact as other films, which is probably not just in its ultimate message but in its moderately poor execution.  But again,  I must mention Ellen Page.

With her short brown hair and very pretty face, Page is striking just on the surface.  Watching her play a 14 year old certainly adds a level of voyeurism and self-critique and self-analysis throughout the film.  She, of course, while young, is not as young as her character.  Still, it’s an interesting twist, one that the film flirts with a bit, but doesn’t really string out for full potential.  She carries the bulk of the film in her delivery of her character’s complex personality as it slowly unfolds, making a lot of dialogue that would have been painful performed by others at least believable enough in the context of the film.  She isn’t amazing exactly, but she does a very good job with the material.  She is someone to watch.

The film has some open-ended-ness to it, that helps a bit, but what it ultimately represents or supports is a little hard to get at.  It’s use of technology is interesting: the internet, cell phones, chat rooms, email.  Not that any of that is particularly new, but it does operate well within a world in which those things are commonplace and tie deeply to the plot twists and narrative of the story.

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