June 27, 2005

Hard Candy (2005)

"Hard Candy" is hardly the kind of film I'd pick if I bothered to read what the subject matter was about but I watched it anyway.

Basically, it's about a little 14 year old girl (who looks a lot like that creepy kid from "Sixth Sense") who entraps a paedophile and torments the crap out of him for the rest of the film. Of course, they pronounce it as "peddophile" not "peedophile" so I had a little chuckle to myself that this poor guy was being tortured over a foot fetish!

Ellen Page (or is that Haley Joel Osment?) gives such a good performance as the know-it-all teenager Hayley (hmmm?) that if I had been her victim, instead of Patrick Wilson (Jeff), I would quite cheerfully have cut her head off whether I was guilty of anything else or not.

Yes, I admit that I was on Jeff's side not Hayley's all the way through. I kept waiting for some kind of twist that would make her out to be an even nastier piece of work than she already was and see our hero get the upper hand and ice the little cow but it never happened. There was a twist but it was predictable and not as clever as the rest of the film.

In many ways it reminded me of the famous Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier film "Sleuth" (from 1972) but, in spite of two of the best acting performances I've seen for ages, it just fell short at the final jump.

Considering this was one of the only films I've watched that at times had my heart pounding away with suspense, I really should say that this is a classic. Unfortunately, it dragged on about half an hour too long and the twist that I was waiting for (rather than the one which did occur) never happened.

I really wanted Jeff to be completely innocent in this whole thing and for Hayley (Haley) to turn out to be just a psycho teenager like most of them you encounter on MySpace. But alas it was not to be.

It's so derivative of things like "Misery" and "Teaching Mrs Tingle" but with a paedophilia angle that I can't actually give it any marks for originality. But I can give it full marks for a decent script and, apart from a couple of seriously ludicrous and unbelievable fight scenes, fantastic acting ability shown by the two leads. I've now mentioned the acting three times so it must be good!

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