FILM : Hard Candy - Disturbingly Enjoyable


I had quite a stressful Ramadan so far with all the workload at the office (..still lots of work to be done!). Almost everyday I had to break fast with sweets or candy or just water inside my car while struggling to drive myself home from the stampede of cars on KL roads. My new CEO is driving everyone crazy with his 'strict' new office policy and unnecessary tantrums. I got a new project that needed to be completed before Hari Raya. Basically no time to write anything here.

So I figured, this weekend, I had a couple days off, I rather be at home, watch a good movie, and write a review or something. You know, just to relax, to chill. But... after watching Hard Candy, I'm not sure if I was more relaxed or more tense. Coz' this movie doesn't let you go off that easily after the end credits roll. No siree. Don't be fool by the Little Red Riding Hood poster. This candy is hard to digest.. but it's oh so sweet.

Hard Candy is a 2006 film about Hayley Stark (Ellen Page), a 14-year-old girl who meets Jeff (Patrick Wilson), a 32-year-old photographer who might be an ephebophile (..a slight different from pedophile). The two first get to know each other on the Internet before meeting in person at a local coffee shop, which results in a trip to Jeff's home. However, Jeff soon learns that Hayley isn't as innocent as she appears. - wikipedia.org

OK, first thing first. This movie is virtually a two-act play taking place almost entirely in one location. Most of the movie is talking, as the two characters attempt to peel away each other's disguises and get to the underlying truth. So if you're not a fan of slow pace, dialogue-driven film, you might wanna' give this one a miss.

So what so special about this movie then? Well, it's those dialogue itself. So much weight given to everything the two main characters say, we literally hang on to every word. It was almost like watching a stage-play with two characters that neither good nor bad. In fact, as the movie progress, you don't know which character you're rooting for. After all, whom does one root for, the charming ephebophile or the crazed vigilante teenager? At a certain point, you don't even know who is stalking whom. It's a movie with no good guys, which makes it so fascinating. The film's ability to play with viewers' emotions gives it a strange power. As stomach-churning a character as Jeff is, do we really want to see him suffer like this? It's an odd film in which a viewer almost ends up sympathizing with an accused child molester.

The great (or maybe the bad) thing about the movie is that some scenes tend to play with your mind. There's some torture scenes in the movie. Even a castration scene (..yess, guys!). But lumping Hard Candy in with the recent spate of gruesome torture films would be a crime, because it's a different caliber of film, relying more on dialogue and pacing to create tension and drama rather than violence and gore. That's not to say that there isn't any. The gore is mostly implied rather than shown. Despite the dialogue-heavy nature of the film, it's when you're already on edge and unsure of what might happen next when it really starts to screw with your mind by intensifying the pace with more action. In other word, the film just mind-fuck you! (..excuse my French).

In the end, a movie is only as good as its performances, and let me tell you something, this Ellen Page is going to be a huge star. She's scary good, and this film gives her a meaty role that she really sinks her teeth into. She lets it all hang out. Ellen Page's onscreen charisma and cherubic face is equal to that of much older actresses like Glenn Close or Meryl Streep, and she shows incredible muscle by grabbing the viewer's attention and only letting it go when she decides she's done with you. It's almost impossible to not be riveted by her every word and action, showing what an amazing discovery she is. You'll probably be seeing a lot more of her in the next few years. If Ellen Page didn't get nominated for something this year, I am going to be really pissed.

Patrick Wilson is solid, but not in Ellen's league. She dominates their scenes, which upsets the balance of the cat-and-mouse game a little. We are always of the opinion that Hayley has the upper hand, even when she isn't supposed to.

Hard Candy is a film that makes us question our values. It's rare that a movie that's essentially two people in a room talking for an hour has the kind of impact that this movie has. Brian Nelson's screenplay could just easily have been done as a stage play, but it's the claustrophobic, nearly colorless, way that music video director David Slade shoots it that makes it so effective. Using mostly extreme close-ups and a gray washed-out look, he has made a very distinctive looking film. It's almost a shame that there are a lot of moments that will be very hard to watch… but in a good way.

An effective thriller, disturbing not only for its frank look at the subject of online predators, but also because of the riveting onscreen relationship between its two stars that keeps you glued to the screen from start to finish. It will have you questioning whatever you thought you knew about meeting strangers online. It's like Stephen King's Misery for the younger, hipper crowd. Or maybe a reverse take on Takeshi Miike's Audition, if you will. A psychological thriller of the most disturbing kind. It is messed-up in the best way possible. Watch it and get uneasy.

P/S: Guys, when THAT scene comes up, be sure to cross your leg. You will feel it.. trust me.

14 comments:

  1. Nazim Masnawi said...
     

    Ah, finally, a story I can relate to.

  2. Edd Vedder said...
     

    yes.. you should watch this movie Nazim because you could decide afterwards if you are a really a pedophile or a ephebophile.

  3. Zack said...
     

    Freaks.

  4. swan said...
     

    bought this film ages ago but still havent got the time to sit and watch and jerk....thanks for the mega spoiler edd!

  5. Edd Vedder said...
     

    Swan...!
    Long time no see.. hehe. mega-spoiler? Mana ada.

    It's not what u think it is.. :)

  6. Iron Board said...
     

    Ellen Page looks cute in X-Men : The Last Stand as Kitty Pride though...

  7. Edd Vedder said...
     

    IB..
    Ellen Page looks even cuter in this movie. Cute but deadly.

  8. cik sueN said...
     

    oshit.oshit.oshit.oshit....

    EEEEEEEEEEEDDDD!!!

    AKKU NAAAAAAAAAAK PINJAAAAAAAAM CITERRRRRRRRR NIIIIIIIIII.....


    pliiiiiiiiiiiiis???

    i saw the preview first time when i was in dublin a few months back, penat akku carik kat mesia ni..

    plis la oi brader.. i beg u..

    btw, fyi, enpon akku ilang a few weeks ago, akku dh beli nmbr baru. so i need ur nmbr. emel me babygajahbes@y!

  9. cik sueN said...
     

    i only take a look of the heading jer, edd..
    akku siap x bace ko punye entry ni, edd..
    psl akku xmo spoil my anticipation..

    tolong edd.
    akku suke citer saiko mcm ni.

    plis?

  10. fadz said...
     

    boleh burn tak? hahaha, wer did u find this dvd? aku dah lama tak turun...

  11. Edd Vedder said...
     

    fadz..
    aku jumpa kat City Square, kalau x silap aku. Kat situ bleh tahan jugak collection dia. Nak burn, tarak hal, tapi aku takde DVD burner. VCD tu ada la.. Nanti aku pinjamkan kat ko la.

  12. Iron Board said...
     

    kau beli DVD kat City Square ke...?
    Mahal la kat situ...!

  13. cik sueN said...
     

    simple, yet complicated.
    the cast consists not more than 10 person.
    only two locations; the cafe when they met and jeff's house.
    and yet.. the dialogue. the script.

    "Just because a girl knows how to imitate a woman, it doesn't mean she's ready to do the things a woman does!"

    marvellous. i clapped.

    frankly, the first 30 minutes of the movie reminds me on my experience meeting guys frm the net on blind dates when i was younger. kinda freaks me out knowing dat i actually risked my life doing so..

    btw, akku tgk dua kali siot crite ni!!!!

    tengkiu dude.
    btw, now i know kenape ko begitu terganggu bile menonton cite ni :)

  14. Anonymous said...
     

    Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
    Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

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