Saturday, April 25, 2009

Movie Review - Hard Candy

Hard Candy starts with an online conversation. Your unease grows as it becomes apparent that the two sides are an adult man and an underage girl. They agree to meet.

At the coffee shop, we first meet the two main characters. Hayley is indeed underage, she's a very precocious 14 years old. The guy is Jeff, a nice guy in his 30's who makes a good living doing fashion photography.

Eventually they wind up back at his house, and he breaks out the vodka and orange juice, and Hayley has "talked" Jeff into photographing her. Just when you think the uncomfortable-meter has been pegged, you get this kick in the gut:

Hayley: They teach kids our age not to accept drinks unless you watch it being mixed.

Jeff: That's good advice.

Hayley: Everyone should follow it. Even adults.

Jeff has been drugged and wakes up tied to a chair. From here, the movie goes into high simmer. The tension is thick and doesn't let up. Sometimes Hayley has the upper hand and sometimes Jeff manages to turn the tables on her. It's strictly one-on-one because neither want the police involved.

There's no gore and very little blood (a few cuts and scrapes), but there is one long, drawn-out sequence that will curdle your blood.

What's memorable about this movie is that both main characters are fully three dimensional. Jeff isn't "just" a perv trolling the net, he's truly likable and you do occasionally find yourself sympathizing with the pedophile. Hayley isn't "just" a hyper-competent kid, there's a frighteningly psychotic side to that mentally agile mind. They both have pasts and deep emotions that the other picks at and manipulates, trying to survive to the outcome they each want.

The acting is outstanding. There's no nudity, and despite the premise there's no sexual contact other than (if I remember correctly) a peckish kiss. There are a few curse words scattered about, but not many.

Hard Candy is not light entertainment, but I do highly recommend this one.


dogette said...

I've actually seen this movie. It was trippy.

(You can see why I don't write movie reviews and leave it to others.)

LeeAnn said...

Now I really do want to see it, as opposed to having it on my "get the DVD if I see it in the $5 bin" list.
Gotta go see if NetFlix has it listed, move it up in my queue.
Added bonus to this comment: I get to say "queue", which makes me feel veddy British.

If you want to review something trippy, try "Southland Tales". Unexpectedly enthralling.

Ted said...

I should have mentioned that this one was from NetFlix.

Mad William Flint said...

Sounds good, but like it would be a bit too effective a psych job for me.