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Hard Candy (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
Hard Candy (DVD)
Advantages: Very well-acted, intense, good dialogue, controversial topic
Disadvantages: Controversial topic, some camera effects were hard to watch
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 105 mins
DIRECTOR: David Slade
PRODUCERS: Michael Caldwell, David Higgins & Richard Hutton
SCREENPLAY: Brian Nelson
MUSIC: Harry Escott & Molly Nyman
Patrick Wilson as Jeff Kohlver
Ellen Page as Hayley Stark
FILM ONLY REVIEW
After having a few chat sessions with one another on the internet, Hayley and Jeff decide to meet up for a coffee.
Initially, 32-year-old photographer Jeff appears surprised that Hayley is only fourteen, but he seems to find her wide-eyed innocence and teenage enthusiasms quite endearing.
Hayley agrees to go back to Jeff's house, where after a couple of drinks that she insists on mixing herself and flipping through a few photos of young models that Jeff shows her, Hayley makes it obvious that she believes he is a paedophile.
Hard Candy is a film that focuses on the topic of paedophilia, but it isn't quite what one would expect. It opens easily, with Jeff and boyish, naïve-seeming Hayley meeting up for coffee, chatting easily to one another. However, once the scene moves to Jeff's house is when I can say that the situation gets well out of hand.
This is a film which is very strong on dialogue, and I was pleased that both of the main characters spoke clearly....a rarity in modern American productions! The acting from both Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page is superb, and they worked extremely well together, perfecting what must have been two very difficult parts to play.
I can't say that I had any awareness of a film score for most of the time although a little borderline avant-garde percussive music did filter into my consciousness now and again....but, it is my view that Hard Candy is a production which could easily do without any music due to the concentration being 100% on the two main characters and how they interact.
One thing I did find very uncomfortable was that at certain points during the film, the camera was whizzed about quite frenetically, which made viewing those scenes difficult...difficult to the point where I had to turn my head away from the screen. I understand that this was done for effect, but I feel such to have been completely unnecessary, simply because what is happening on the screen stands up perfectly well on its own, and to tweak it for the purposes of special effect added a touch of unreality rather than did anything to enhance the atmosphere.
Hard Candy is a film that many people may choose to avoid once they learn that it centres around the subject of paedophilia, but I would urge anybody to, if they can, cast aside their preconceived ideas, as what actually happens in the film isn't what one would expect and perhaps anticipate.
I could see a similarity between Hard Candy and another well-known film (which I can't say the title of as it may border upon being a spoiler), although the actual storylines are different, yet the basic concept is the same.
Around 99% of Hard Candy takes place in Jeff's house with nobody else present except for him and Hayley, and there are a few surprises along the way as well as a fair dose of brutality, but such brutality is quite tastefully handled, despite a couple of aspects which I'm sure would make most people cringe.
I am trying to work out whether I think Hard Candy is over the top or not. Part of me thinks that something like this would never happen, yet the other part of me realises a bit more each day that there are some extremely disturbed people wandering loose in the world, so it could be feasible to suggest that under extreme circumstances, there may be a remote possibility of something like this actually occurring?
Whilst watching Hard Candy, I found myself anticipating certain directions the film would move along, but I was wrong each time, which provided me with a refreshing element of surprise, as the story turns out to be less predictable than at first appears. It also raises one or two questions regarding Jeff's part in the whole setup....but to know what I mean you'd have to see the film for yourself.
Overall I really enjoyed Hard Candy, but was very frustrated with the camera effects, and perhaps I'd like to have seen the tension levels hiked up a bit, but nevertheless it is a very interesting film which I can't say is entertaining exactly, but it certainly is unusual bearing in mind the angle the story is approached from. Perhaps Hard Candy could be something I'd consider watching again, as I have a feeling it might penetrate more deeply into my psyche on second viewing.
I'm tempted to hand out a warning because of the subject matter of Hard Candy, but from the paedophile aspect, I don't think it is necessary. However, some people may find a few of the more brutal scenes too disturbing to watch, even though they are well done and nothing which is hinted at is shown. It certainly is a mostly well put together film, with some rather stupendous acting from the two lead characters, so that in itself may be enough to tempt those who are curious but hesitant.
At the time of writing, Hard Candy can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £1.86 to £29.99
Used: from 38p to £100.00 (why???)
Collectible: only one copy currently available @ £5.99
Some items on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.
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~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summary: A good film that goes to some unexpected places