Hard Candy Review
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Plot:For three weeks, 14-year-old Hayley Stark has been chatting on-line with 'Lensmaster319', a 32-year old fashion photographer, named Jeff. The two agree to meet at a coffee shop called Nighthawks. They hit it off, despite the massive age difference. Hayley appears to flirt with Jeff, and Jeff generally restrains himself, even admitting that he must wait 4-years until he can be with her. But his reservations are apparently not enough to decline when Hayley all but invites herself over to his house. Once at the house, manipulation becomes the name of the game, and the pedophile seems to be on the non-traditional side of it.
My Thoughts:Mostly mind games with very little impact.
Review:Who would've ever thought a movie about a pedophile getting his come uppance would be a total bore. Unfortunately, "Hard Candy" which stars Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson is for the most part...a bore. Things start off interesting enough with an IM conversation between two people on a computer which then shifts the scene to a coffee shop where a Photographer named Jeff (Wilson) meets a teenage girl named Hayley (Page). To Jeff, Hayley is just another victim who's walked right into his trap (hence the poster with little red riding hood and the bear trap). However, Jeff might have underestimated this potential victim more than he knows. The problem with "Hard Candy" is that it doesn't use all of the tools it has at it's disposal. This film has so much potential to go in so many different, violent, and high octane directions but it just decides to stay in it's nice, quiet, and safe little box avoiding any real flashes of brilliance or excitement. Most of the film is spent on back and forth dialogue between Page and Wilson before both return back to his place upon which Page's character drugs Wilson and then begins to slowly reveal her "real" purpose for arranging the meeting between the two. Another problem with this film is the dialogue which makes up a large portion of the movie. It's very flat, uninspired, and lackluster. Page after drugging Wilson ties him to a chair and begins her work to get him to confess to the murder of one of her friends and also to being a pedophile. The both of them go back and forth at each other via dialogue in a game of mental chess of sorts. This could've really made the film something special but again Brian Nelson's script is just too slow and uninspired to garner any real excitement or interest from the viewer. Although one thing Nelson's script does manage to do well is make the viewer suspect many different things about Ellen Page's character. Is she a vigilante of sorts, trying to exact revenge for a friend? Is she a female serial killer, a psychopath, or does she really have the wrong dude tied up during the duration of the movie? These are all questions that the movie does a great job of implanting in the viewers head and doesn't reveal the answers to too early. The movie tries to make up for it's flat dialogue and lack of action by setting up a scene where Page's character Hayley preps to castrate Wilson's character Jeff and the scene actually does work out quite well despite the cartoonish way it unfolds. Had this scene been taken more seriously and played out with less sarcasm and off color comments and more serious toned dialogue, it could've went down as one of the most memorable scenes in film history. Unfortunately despite this scene acting as a golden opportunity to add some life to the movie, Slade still fails to use it to his best advantage. Actress Sandra Oh shows up in a few scenes as Jeff's overtly curious neighbor scenes which eventually add up to nothing with Slade not playing on the opportunity to use them as a way to give the movie more impact. "Hard Candy" does finally show some spirit in it's climax when the mindgames come to an end in a rooftop confrontation between Jeff and Hayley, leading to an ending which should satisfy those who like to see the scummiest of the scumbags get theirs in the end. "Hard Candy" isn't a total waste, but it doesn't live up to it's potential. Still it's interesting enough to see all the way through atleast once.
Pros:Ellen Page gives a good performance, Patrick Wilson doesn't do too bad. Great final 15 minutes
Cons:Lackluster dialogue, too many dreadfully boring moments in the pic, alot of missed opportunities.
Overall:Worth a watch but don't hold high expectations going into it.
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