[i]by Jason Anderson, published on April 27, 2006 13:04[/b]|
Guy meets girl in this American indie thriller but Hard Candy would be a long way from romantic comedy even if it didn't contain a gruesome scene of amateur surgery that's already notorious. The guy is Jeff (Patrick Wilson), a smooth-talking 32-year-old photographer with an unseemly interest in much younger women. It's his bad luck that the girl is Hayley (Ellen Page), a precocious 14-year-old who's been flirting with Jeff online and coquettishly invites herself to his place. The afternoon that follows is nothing like Jeff expected.
The Halifax-born upstart who stars next in X-Men: The Last Stand and Bruce McDonald's The Tracy Fragments, Page displays a cunning ferocity and a wickedly dark wit as a self-styled avenger who works hard to disguise her own fear. Wilson holds up his end but it's Page who greatly raises the level of this game. Brian Nelson's script, though tautly constructed, occasionally smacks of contrivance and director David Slade's attempts to disguise the production's modest means (and essentially theatrical nature) can get too flashy. Even so, Hard Candy's style and energy make it a fearsome contender, especially when Hayley gets the knives out, both figuratively and literally.
Rating: 4 out of 5