von Ed / Rating: 8 out of 10|
Hard Candy itself isnt a relatively new film (released in 2005) but after having it recommended to me by my Media Studies teacher, it sounded like a worthwhile watching. The whole plot, in particular, encapsulated me; a young girl captures a paedophile and tortures him, a complete subversion of both what we already have come to know and what we have come to expect. But, I think what makes Hard Candy such an excellent film is the manner in which it tells this story and the way its so much more than the torture flick it couldve been.
In subject matter the film is so new and so unique and I praise whatever genius thought up that plotline and of course the writer, Brian Nelson. It empitomises the kind of writing I enjoy, the stuff that really makes you think, the stuff that ignites a reaction. In this sense, very similar to the writing of say Kaufman but at the same time, incredibly different.
Through the writing, casting and sophisticated use of focus (a tool Im very much interested in myself) the character development is so, so much deeper than youd expect to see in an indie film that was only purchased at Sundance film festival and a film that had incredibly little backing until completion. The way in which it isnt as clear cut as good v evil, immoral man v crusader for every young molested girl, is such an important feature within the film, and the concepts explored really question your judgements and question your morals.
Its intellectual, subversive and witty tackling a sensitive topic without managing to offend (although many critics and indeed those who watched it at Sundance. Slade (the director) does indeed mention an emotional chap who seemed to be deeply disturbed by it) those that paedophilia affects. The very notion of these hard candies (an actual paedophile term) and internet grooming is very real, and this film hits that head on.
Moreso than the notions of paedophilia and grooming though, are these issues of vigiliantism and whether indeed anybody deserves such punishment. It alludes somewhat to the incident (and Im ashamed to say that its British) of the News of the World publishing the names and addresses of registered sex offenders and indeed mistaking a paediatrician for a paedophile and causing somewhat of a witchhunt there. The film questions whether or not its right to take the law into your own hands and subsequently not only torture but cause the death of an apparently guilty man but still a human being. Many people would indeed say it is, and Im inclined to agree somewhat but it really hits home in the film, with this presentation of the paedophile as a normal man, a normal trendy Bohemian guy with a studio apartment. It probably shouldnt alter judgement but it does and clearly the film intended it to be this way.
Hard Candy is essentially an original film that makes you think and its these two characteristics that make a film for me at least. The cinematography is excellent, the writing is excellent but the film is made by this initial idea and the way in which it has been brought out because it could so easily have gone another way and completely missed the point. The ending was probably the negative point of the film for me because it removes that journey of discovery somewhat from the narrative but its a very small negative in a very good film.