Starring: Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson, Sandra Oh
Director: David Slade
Running Time: 104 mins
Hard Candy is an American film about a 14-year-old girl who meets with a man she met online, only to begin torturing him and raiding his own house after she suspects him of being a paedophile.
This film is definitely not for the faint-hearted. It’s a well-acted spectacle that takes numerous unexpected turns, and turns into a disturbingly thrilling drama that will chill you to the bone. Despite that, it can be at times a little heavy on the monologues, that go on too long to sustain the tension, whilst it is also occasionally unbelievably violent and difficult to watch, and although it’s the intention, it’s sometimes not really a pleasant viewing experience.
The best thing about this film is the direction it takes from the start. Rather than simply going for a film about online grooming that would have been a bit repetitive, the idea of having this young girl turn on the grown man was absolutely brilliant, and when it starts to hit home how serious she is, it becomes massively unpredictable and bordering on terrifying.
One of the most terrifying things about this is the way that it all feels so real. To be honest, this situation would be extremely unlikely in reality, but it unfolds in such a way that you are grabbed by such an outlandish story. This is helped largely by the brilliant acting by Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson, the former of whom is very strong and impressive in what is a brilliant breakthrough role, whilst Patrick Wilson is stunning despite being in a very restricted position throughout the film.
That’s all helped by brilliant writing that makes the film, effectively just starring these two, so engaging to watch. However, that’s not the case the whole way through, mainly evidenced by many of the excessively long monologues which can drag on and really bore you, taking away from the tension.
And whilst it is such a heavy-going and dramatic film, the extreme violence and gore that you see at points throughout, particularly one scene which is actually too much for even an 18 or NC-17 rating, can really ruin the viewing experience as something properly engaging.
On the whole, however, the intention of this film is to push boundaries as an incredibly independent film, so that’s not a massive problem in the grand scheme of things, so due to its largely fascinating story and great acting, this gets a 7.5 from me.