by Scooter Thompson, published on April 29, 2006|
Hard Candy is one of those films that really to get the most out of, you should know as little as possible about the story before hand. Therefore, I have to admit to being a bit disappointed by a lot of the advertising and tags lines being used which give away a crucial plot twist. My advice is dont read anything about the film that will give away any of the plotyou know that my reviews do not give away major plot points except in incredibly rare instances or by sheer coincidence or error, so you are safe here.
The story begins with the on-line chat-transcript between Thonggirrrrrl14 and Lensman319. The chat ends abruptly when Thonggirrrrrl14 finally caves into and agrees to meet Lensman319 in person at a coffee shop. Over a piece of chocolate cake and with icing smeared on her upper lip, Thonggirrrrrl14, Haley (Ellen "Kitty Pryde from X-Men 3" Page), finally meets her photographer, Jeff (Patrick "Angles in America" Wilson). We quickly ascertain that Haley is just finishing the 8th grade and Jeff, well, lets just say hes a seasoned photographer deeply into 20s or early into his 30s, and that their on-line relationship has been going on for only just three weeks. Haley mentions to him that she is surprised a guy who looks like him has to meet women on the Internet, and he mentions that he finds meeting people on-line first a lot more useful because peoples faces can lie. Does my face lie? she asks back with a flirtatious glimmer in her eyes. In that one short exchange, we get to know all we need to know about these two characters and their intentionsor so we might be led to believe. From its mysterious title, ingeniously haunting movie poster take note of the Little
Red Riding Hood imagery to the beguiling and artistically stylistic opening credit sequence, director David Slade has done everything just right to set the tone, the mood, and the stage for a psychologically powerful and morally disturbing film that will rock you to the core of just about everything you think you believe on some of the very most controversial subjects of our time. From a strictly artistic perspective, this film is among the most crisp and technically right on the money Ive seen in a long, long time. Pay close attention and notice the lines. Everywhere you look its all about the lines--where to draw them and when to cross them. Also, listen to the haunting music and notice when you dont notice it. Look closely at the lighting. Observe the colors of paint on the walls and then, after the movie is over, think back and see how much of the film now seems like it was black and white. Nothing in this film is there by accident. Everything that passes across the screen has a perfect double purpose: one obvious and one symbolic. These are all part of an elaborate phishing* scheme; and the question will be, will you take the bait, nibble, and be caught?
While Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson are relative newcomers to the major motion picture world, both are absolutely mesmerizing, and you should expect to be seeing much more of them as they stand to become household names after this. The same goes for David Slade and writer Brian Nelson who cut their teeth, so to speak, on this project as well. Together, the foursome has concocted a tantalizing treat (Hard Candy) that you wont want to try to crack open on the first bite.