12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guys will cringe
Jeff, a talented but lecherous photographer with a penchant for underage girls lets himself get talked into meeting with a young fourteen year old girl with a nervous but worldly attitude to the world.
At first, her agreement to go to his house leaves Jeff thinking the ball is completely in his court, but things begin to quickly go south when he learns that...
Published on 3 Aug 2009 by Dismal Angel
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More annoying than engrossing
There's a point in this film where there is a reference to Jodie Foster. I presume that is the director having a wink at the audience as Foster starred in a film called The little girl who lives down the lane: it has a similar premise to this film but is better made. The problem that this film has is that the makers think they are making a better film than they are. Thus...
Published 21 months ago by katyn1940
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guys will cringe,
At first, her agreement to go to his house leaves Jeff thinking the ball is completely in his court, but things begin to quickly go south when he learns that Hailey is not who she seemed to be and that he may have stepped into a trap.
A darkly disturbing but clever twist is what really makes the movie, and it's definately one that will have you gripping the edge of your seat (and guys possibly wincing while crossing their legs). Incredible movie carried completely by Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson with only a vague cameo by Sandra Oh.
Ellen Page is fantastic at playing a child despite her age of 18 at the time (really sucking you into the initial innocence), and Patrick Wilson is believable enough to leave you somewhat sympathetic despite the story.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Edgy and fast paced,
38 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT EASY VIEWING,
Its central conceit: 14 year old Hayley (Ellen Page) and thirty-something photographer Jeff (Patrick Wilson), meet up at a coffee house following some fruity internet exchanges and appear to hit it off. Their easy banter begins to flow naturally and seems kind of innocent if a little sexually barbed, then Hayley agrees to leave with Jeff and go to his swish apartment cum studio and things take a much darker turn. At this point many of the audience should hear the sound of alarm bells ringing. In an ideal world Hayley should never have gone to meet Jeff in the first place and in a less morally moribund world Jeff should've simply left the coffee shop when he discovers his `date' to be so young. It's a pertinent point in modern society that danger is not often as immediate or as obvious as you might think.
Spade's screenplay crackles with witty dialogue and pop culture references, the twists and turns come thick and fast despite the central and claustrophobic setting. The two chief players are framed in close up for much of the movie, meaning that the performances have to be right on the button in order for Hard Candy to be an effective two hander. Ellen Page is a terrifying Lolita, part woman scorned, part wide-eyed teenager and part Charles Bronson. Her stand out turn is guaranteed to scare the wits out of male audiences the world over and although played as a little too cocksure, her performance here is set to take her into the big league. Wilson also deserves credit as he lends certain credibility and charm to the nominal `villain' of the piece who would so often be branded sleazy or a recluse outsider. His delivery ensures the terror and impact of what you (thankfully) do not see on screen is fully realized.
The talking point of Hard Candy is predictably the lengthy torture scene involving some impromptu amateur surgery and this key sequence is essentially the crux of Spade's film. Here, despite you being convinced that Jeff is a bit of a creep, you can't help but empathize with his plight. Or can you? There in lies Spade's intelligent juxtaposition, the fact that you never actually see any firm evidence to suggest Jeff's guilt, means that it's Hayley's word against his and Hayley, it seems, happens to be a bit deranged. Or is she? In keeping much of Hayley's motivation ambiguous and avoiding giving hard evidence of her accusations leveled at Jeff, the audience is left to decide whether Hayley is within her rights as a would be post modern vigilante and if Jeff is even deserving of such an act? The `did he/didn't he?' aspect of the screenplay certainly ratchets the tension when the scalpel finally comes out, but will no doubt divide audiences once the end credits roll.
Hard Candy is grueling viewing (male audiences will wince throughout) and it's not likely to be a movie watched repeatedly. David Slade's feature debut has attracted critical praise, most of which deservedly due to two fine central performances but it's not without faults, Hard Candy treads dangerously close to parody when the message, although hidden in satirical overtones, becomes increasingly fractured. Hamstrung slightly by an ending that feels a little too convenient and moments of daft character decisions, this thought provoking piece falls short of the movie it will be inevitable compared to, namely Takashi Miike's `Audition'. It is though a relevant topical feature that sparks debate on a subject often considered too taboo for mainstream cinema.
One piece of advice: avoid this movie if you are intending to embark on a nice romantic date. It'll only end in tears.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars intelligent, challenging film which deserves to be seen,
This review is from: Hard Candy [Blu-ray]  [US Import] (Blu-ray)I think we live in a time where the subject matter of this film is very much in the fore-front of the public consciousness. Yes, unfortunately we live in a time that every Tom, Dick and Harry gets labelled as a child molester if they do anything but deny that kids exist. Of course, a lot of the time, the accusations tend to be nothing more than Rupert Murdock deciding to ruin someone's life because he has nothing better to put on his front page that day. What is interesting about Hard Candy is that the story plays on that aspect of guilty without trial, because, obviously, the accusations are so heinous that, the accused must be guilty!
Another, more justifiable subject that the media like to bring into the limelight, which is also covered in this film, are the dangers of allowing your little ones to talk to strangers online. There are several well-documented cases of teenagers eloping with their much older internet friends in recent years.
We are literally bombarded with this, frankly, hideous subject every single day, lets face it! It was only a matter of time before someone made a film on the subject. But what was unexpected was the film that was made wasn't a one sided witch hunt type film with the persecution of a nasty, evil man, that is predictable and as tedious as a tabloid newspaper on a slow news day (Three in four stretch limos `put lives in danger'- actual headline from the day I wrote this review) no! The film that we got was actually good! Hard Candy not only tackles this thorny subject matter with expert skill, but also happens to be a powerful, thought-provoking thriller.
Long story short, this is a great film that keeps you on the edge of your seat for a good proportion of it and its all the more impressive given the fact that it's a two man show (well technically one man and one woman). It's down to Jeff (Patrick Wilson) and Hayley (Ellen Page) to carry the bulk of the film, with some scenes feeling hopelessly sadistic, inviting obvious comparisons to the completely messed up Japanese horror film, Audition. Wilson is fantastic, but it's Page who's the real star, switching effortlessly between naive child and creepy, vengeful woman.
It's what you don't see in Hard Candy that makes it so effective. The film's central scene, involving a spot of amateur surgery, had me crossing my legs and really feeling for the victim, but it is all the more wince-inducing for the fact that you see virtually none of it happening, with the focus instead on the reactions of the two characters. And although Hayley is convinced that Jeff does more with his young fashion models than simply take their picture, we have only her word that he's the twisted paedophile she claims he is, since no truly concrete evidence of his apparently dodgy behaviour is ever shown on screen. This aspect is the crown jewel of the film, because you are constantly trying to figure out who is the bad guy, you find your self sympathising with the accused character, a character that society would condemn in an instant,
For a film to make your psyche go against your social programming and to think in a slightly different way, is just amazing and without a doubt a mark of a great film. It's not always easy viewing, but Hard Candy is an intelligent, challenging film which deserves to be seen.
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a good film,
5.0 out of 5 stars ' Disturbing ',
This review is from: Hard Candy (Region B) (Blu-ray)Disturbing is how I've heard some critics of this film describe it (as if that's a criticism ) this film IS disturbing and controversial and sinister and vicious in fact a tense powerful movie. Hayley a 14year old girl traps (via the net) 32year old Jeff a fashion photographer and paedophile and possible killer of one missing girl at his elegant lair. There our sympathies switch from one to the other, Jeff is rather pathetic is he really a murderer of young girls? The film needs and gets fine performances from Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page in a fine thriller fans of the unusual should see.
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling,
5.0 out of 5 stars Great performances,
For me, the movie should be seen by anyone with a love for independent movie-making. It's so cheap, even if you hate it, what have you lost?
It's easy to praise Ellen Page for her performance, but that would be unfair to Patrick Wilson, who has the more difficult role and leaves you occasionally hoping he escapes his treatment.
One last thing, the main documentary is very revealing and worthwhile, as are the commentaries - with the Page/Wilson one being particularly engaging.
I wish all DVDs were as good as this.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal and brilliant!,
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Candy,
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Hard Candy by David Slade (DVD)