Hard Candy is one of those thriller flicks that I’ve been meaning to watch. I was going to a few weeks ago on Netflix and then there were sound problems that never got resolved (I checked back a few times). So, after my review on The Loved Ones (click HERE if you haven’t read it) invoked this huge comment from Gary at With a Friend Like Gary, he told me that one that is done a whole lot better is Hard Candy. With that said, I ran out and found a copy of it over the weekend and finally popped it in my laptop the night before and finished it yesterday evening. Lets check it out!
Director: David Slade
After weeks of chat, a 14 year old teenager Hayley (Ellen Page) agrees to meet Jeff Patrick Wilson), a photographer in his 30s for coffee. Coffee turns into a visit to Jeff’s place which spirals out of control. Soon, Hayley is in control of the situation as tries to make Jeff admit to her suspicions of him being a pedophile and connected to the recent disappearance of a young girl with in her own way.
**I’m not sure how many people have seen this even though its been released since 2005. However, just in case, I tried to keep the synopsis as spoiler free as possible. I don’t know how to do better than that. However, if you do intend to see this, I suggest you just skip the reviews and watch it with a clear mind. You’ll enjoy it even more, I promise! Plus, its a spoiler alert in case my write up actually reveals more than you want to know.**
Hard Candy is one of those psychological thrillers that makes the audience finish and still be thinking and it just lingers for a while in our thoughts. It soaks in a little and then I just went WOW! Its a controversial movie but thats also what makes it thought provoking. I don’t do it often, but I turned on the special features and started listening to the mindset behind the writer, producer and director. Hard Candy is engrossing and at various parts, hits a disturbing messed up level but in this quiet crazy way.
There is just so much great to talk about in this movie. The cast was perfect. I personally love Ellen Page a lot. I loved her as Juno and after seeing this, I’m convinced that she can do any role. Hayley is the character that subconsciously and eventually consciously controls the situation. As much as the dialogue was very well-written, it was enhanced by the close up shots that brought out their emotions during silence. They acted with their body language and emoted with their eyes. The tone of the voice depending on the context and it was a lot of between the lines even as Hayley was talking to Jeff.
Now, talking about Patrick Wilson as Jeff, is actually pretty impressive. I’m sure if I saw it in 2005 when his only previous role was Phantom of the Opera as the dull and boring Raoul, this would’ve been even more impressive. Jeff is also a really tough role to play because as much as the roles seem clear between Hayley and Jeff, there are moments where they aren’t and thats when Patrick Wilson has to do a Jeff that at times, the audience will sympathize for him but at other times, wonder if there is that possibility that he is a child predator.
Aside from amazing performances, I’d have to say that I really liked the use of silence and sound. Its the little details that the director paid attention to that brings out the suspense even more. The colors and lighting that they use also creates a good atmosphere. There was a really good balance in everything. However, there was one thing that bothered me a little in the beginning and that was the camera shots. I understood eventually it was probably to enhance the feeling of chaos as to move it uncontrollably at times when there was conflict but the first time that happened, it was a bit dizzy to look at.
I can talk all day about how great the movie is but if you haven’t seen it, its really awesome! Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson are amazing as the lead characters. The story is well-written and the dialogue draws you in. The suspense grows as you watch every minute as you start wondering who to trust, if this is right or wrong, and at times, it hits the mentally disturbing part. Its a thought provoking thriller and you’ll probably spend some time digesting the content as I am while I’m writing this up. Still, Hard Candy is an amazing movie and I urge each of you to watch it if you haven’t already.
I’d also like to send out a huge thanks to Gary for giving me the final push to see Hard Candy! Head on over to check out his blog. I put the link on the top with his name 🙂