Director: David Slade
Starring: Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson &
RunTime: 1 hr 44 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: M18 (Mature
Official Site: http://hardcandymovie.com
Day: 3 August 2006
A smart, charming teenage girl, Hayley probably
shouldn't be going to a local coffee shop to meet Jeff, a
30-something fashion photographer she met on the Internet.
But Hayley's ready to have fun, and soon she's mixing ‘screwdrivers’
at Jeff's place and stripping for an impromptu photo shoot.
It's Jeff's lucky night--until his vision blurs and he passes
meets girl on internet. Man is a lonely photographer; girl
is a flirty student. He is charming while she is deeply intelligent.
They decide to meet at a coffee house. The problem is, man
is a 32 years old while girl is 14. The bigger problem is,
man decides to invite girl to his house. The biggest problem
is, girl agrees. What is it about arty-farty photographers
that always get the girls? Fortunately for the non-photographically-inclined
dudes out there, it turns out the girl is a bona fide man-eater.
Got ice pick?
gentlemen in the theatre sulk in collective despair as every
growing boy’s greatest nightmare was acted out on-screen.
At the same time, the ladies snicker and chortle at every
snipe of girl Hayley (Ellen Page)’s scissors and scalpel.
It is like the cutesy ditsy babes that skittered into the
theatre before the lights went off are at once reveling in
some perverse pleasure at the emasculation of a very sweaty
photographer (Patrick Wilson). I have to take my mind off
the many close-up shots of the man in various states of exertion/desolation/perspiration,
Patrick Wilson bears more than a passing resemblance to Zinedine
Zidane (the French dude that head-butted the Italian dude
during the World Cup final), albeit with more hair. Ellen
Page was Hayley Stark in this movie before she became Kitty
Pryde in X-men 3. She was 17 when she shot the film in 2005,
but her body does look like it belongs to a 14 year-old. Maybe
excessive running through walls retard growth in some really
important female assets. Maybe she was digitally de-enhanced
like Brandon Routh’s Superman. So before she became
a member of the X-men she was making men ex-men. Note to self:
remember to show Shadowcat more respect next time.
back to the movie. The film works its way through 104 minutes
largely with sinister build-up of tension as well as intelligent
and sometimes funny conversation between the two protagonists.
Director David Slade displays a penchant for episodic emotional
trauma relieved by fade-to-blacks or strafing shots of richly-coloured
walls. He also imbues suspense the same way. The tight close-up
shots of the characters’ faces were unsettling and not
a comfortable sight to behold given the subject matter of
this particular movie.
an acting ensemble of only two major speaking roles and one
came-OH by a certain Sandra (Oh indulge me!), we have to expect
some plot loose-ends. The audience is also required to suspend
a healthy amount of disbelief with Jeff’s inexplicable
love for an ex-girlfriend a prime example (Hey if you love
the lady so much why are you preying on little girls? Childhood
trauma is not an excuse). However, I believe that the film
is not so much a realistic story as it is an in-your-face
shock parable, or, for the matter, a nasty warning for the
guys from malcontented girlfriends.
it is to the film’s credit that both Patrick Wilson
and Ellen Page are able to deliver evocative layered performances
of their characters. As Hayley taunts and revels in Jeff’s
anguish, we see the transformation from a vulnerable wide-eyed
innocent schoolgirl to a calculating angel of revenge exacting
disproportionate justice (and a frightening display of acting
talent from Ms Page) while at the same time, Patrick Wilson’s
character was systematically stripped of his dignity and practically
imploded as a person before our eyes. I would like to believe
that I am not the only person to feel some sympathy for Mr
Vengeanced-upon before the end of the show (the girly giggling
stopped). This begs the question: who is worse – the
vulgar and vicious schoolgirl or the perverse paedophilic
photographer? This film offers no easy answer.
(With some swearing by a teenage actress posing as an even
younger teenager and woozy scenarios involving the symbols
of male pride, this hard candy may be too tough to stomach
for the squeamish.)
by Lim Mun Pong