by Tony Bernardini, published on Thursday, September 11, 2008 03:06:19|
A mature 14-year old girl meets a charming 32-year old photographer on the Internet. Suspecting that he is a pedophile, she goes to his home in an attempt to expose him.
Jeff, a 30-ish photographer meets up with Haley, a fourteen year old girl he met in a chat-room on the internet. Jeff is a pedophile and sees Haley as his next victim. He lures her to his secluded house with the promise of photographing her and making her famous. He chatted with her for weeks on-line, learning everything he can about her.
They get to the house and she's impressed with the large photograph collection, mainly young girls, on his wall. He makes a couple of drinks, screwdrivers, and hands her one. She smiles and states first rule she was taught was never drink anything you didn't make yourself, and proceeds to make her own. When they are finished their first, she goes into the kitchen and makes them both a drink. A few minutes later, Jeff passes out and finds himself bound to a chair. You see, Jeff didn't search out Haley as his victim, it's the other way around.
The remainder of the film is the psychological and physical hell that Haley puts Jeff thru. She stalked him on the internet, pretending to be others in chat-rooms to learn more information about him. Jeff is the same photographer that a friend of Haley was last seen with before she ended up missing. She was able to learn that both of his neighbors were on vacation that day, she had herself dropped of at the cafe where they met, she never gave him personal information where she lived. What he perceived as just another 14 year-old with a bad case of self-esteem is actually a cold, calculating, vengeful girl.
I cannot go into detail what hell he's made to go thru without giving spoilers, but let's say Haley leaves no doubt about what she plans on doing, and as much as he begs, and continually pleads his innocence, she works her hellish plan to the end.
Is Jeff really a pedophile that kills young girls? Apparently. Is Haley justified to what she does to him? Maybe. Is Haley insane? Probably. The film's ending will have you debating these facts. Should people turn the tables on known pedophiles or murderers if your intended to be their next victim? That will depend on your point-of-view after watching "Hard Candy".
Ellen Page deserves to be looked at for an Oscar nomination as the 14 year-old vigilante. Though the subject matter is very strong, I feel this film should be considered one of this year's best.
Rating: 5 out of 5