Sugar and Spice and Everything Not So Nice!
The psychological drama, "Hard Candy" is an unsettling, yet enticing film filled with controversy leaving the viewer with the question of who is the true villain. Is it Haley Stark, a darling, sophisticated, vindictive teen, brought to life by Ellen Page? Could it be Jeff Kohlver, a charming, suave, pedophile, who is brilliantly played by Patrick Wilson? The viewer should choose.
The opening scene starts off in a chat room between Thonggrrrrl14 and Lensman319. The conversation is filled with sexual innuendos. Haley, or Thonggrrrrl14, seems to be very flirtatious and Lensman319, or Jeff, eats it up like chocolate cake. Haley suggests that the two should meet at a coffee shop. Jeff jumps right on the opportunity to meet up with the young lady. The meeting at this coffee house leads to an invitation to the apartment of the "Big Bad Wolf". Of Course, "Little Red Riding Hood" could not refuse. After taking a lengthy ride in Jeff's Mini Cooper, the two end up at the apartment. Haley makes herself comfortable; mixes herself and Jeff alcoholic beverages, which Jeff does not turn down and they swig them back to back. These two, one more than the other, are feeling the effects of their drinks. Haley decides she wants Jeff to take her picture as she peforms a strip tease on his couch but Jeff has been overtaken by his desires or his drink and blacks out. Jeff wakes up strapped into a chair and becomes a prisoner in his own home, and unfortunately for him little miss Haley is the guard and is completely cold towards his pleas. This role reversal carries out through the majority of the film and Jeff is subjected to a variety of torture tactics. Within these scenes lies an interesting debate on the rights and wrongs of the situation and society.
The screenplay,written by Brian Nelson, for this film is excellent but the camera techniques are unbelieveable. The colorist, Jean-Clement Soret, was able to use a high impact color grading and DI . He brightened the colors of the walls and lights to create shadows in specific scenes were Haley is beginning her transformation into the vengeful teenager. This technique was also used in scenes where Jeff is becoming irritated with Haley's actions and he is turning towards his dark side. This technique is a brilliant way of foreshadowing and a great way to create more intensity in scenes to add to the already insane plot line.
Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson gave life to the script and brought forth such incredible performances. Patrick Wilson's background in theater fit perfectly into this very dramatic and theatrical exchange between two individuals. He was able to give Jeff some emotional attributes to allow the audience to feel sympathetic towards the character although Jeff is a pedophile. Ellen Page was able to make Haley a serious force to be reckoned with, despite the fact this character is only 14 years of age. Her commitment to the character trigger thoughts within the viewer and it became quite controversial. Wilson and Page poured their hearts out into these personalities and were able to play into their roles without judging the actions of the characters.
"Hard Candy" is a film not made for viewers with weak stomachs. This movie stirs up lots of emotions. It centered around a specific theme; the importance of taking responsibility for your actions. The viewer will be left questioning how they feel about the characters and who is right or wrong. If the viewer is looking for a movie to blow them away, while making them cringe, "Hard Candy" is their movie.