Hard Candy: Cinema of Cruelty or Exploitation Revenge Tale?

Though addressing a serious issuepedophiliaHard Candy comes across as an exploitation femme-revenge thriller in the trashy vein of Ferrara's Ms. 45, Extremities, and Fatal Attraction, with a touch of nasty brutality out of Swimming With Sharks.

The film is a sampler of cinema of cruelty for both the viewers and the male protagonist, who's held captive and physically tortured for his alleged abuse of young girls. Overextending its welcome by a good 20 minutes, the yarn devotes half of its duration to an intense torture scene in which a teenage girl prepares to castrate the accused.

While watching the movie, with plenty of time to kill, I began to compile a list of the most brutal torture scenes in American films, from Kubrick's Clockwork Orange to Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs all the way to the sleazy Swimming With Sharks (aka The Buddy Factor), to which Hard Candy bears the strongest resemblance.

Late in the game, Sandra Oh makes a brief appearance as the male's neighbor, but other than her cameo, this is very much a two-handler drama that offers its protagonists and the actors who play them plenty of opportunities to unravel secrets and layers of their identities.

What elevates the movie above its claustrophobic trappings and narrative limitations is the accomplished acting of the central couple. A newcomer to me, Ellen Page gives such an astounding and self-assured performance that she manages to make credible the most preposterous monologues and line of action of her.

Also excellent is Patrick Wilson as the photographer-molester in his most demanding role to date. It's to the credit of the filmmakers that they have chosen a handsome and appealing actor like Wilson, since older thespians, like Brian Cox in L.I.E., for example, would have change the meaning of the movie.

Hard Candy, which was inspired by a spate of real-life attacks in Japan where schoolgirls turned the tables on older men trolling the Internet for underage dates, is not without merits. The yarn begins extremely interestingly with a seductive Internet chat between a fashion photographer named Jeff Kohlver (Wilson) and Hayley Stark (Page). They quickly arrange to meet and their first encounter at a Los Angeles caf is rife with sexual tension and intellectual curiosity.

It's fascinating to watch what each character chooses to reveal about himself or herself. Hayley talks about Romeo and Juliet and a biography of Jean Seberg, singling out how the noted actress took her life tragically. Jeff talks vaguely about his work as a photographer but makes sure to flatter Hayley with a present, a T-shirt, that she immediately tries on.

One thing leads to another, and in short order Jeff invites Hayley to his posh Hollywood Hills home, where his best work is displayed on the walls. We quickly learn that Hayley is only 14, or more significantly a full 18 years younger than Jeff. Though professing to be aware of crossing legal boundaries, he offers Hayley a couple of drinks, while she continues to tease him in a manner that suggests greater maturity than her age; it's shocking to realize that Page was only 15 when she shot the picture.

After briefly passing out, Jeff awakens to find himself bound to a chair and accused by Hayley of being a molester and possibly the murderer of a young girl who Hayley knew. At first, Jeff declares complete innocence, denying that he had ever slept with one of his teenage models (his professional specialty).

Unimpressed and undeterred, Hayley starts to search the house for incriminating evidence, beginning with a dissection of his e-mails and computer graphics, which leads to a safe buried in a secret place for which she quickly figures out the code combo.

For half an hour, the cat-and-mouse game is thrilling to watch, but then the story seems to have exhausted its narrative possibilities and not much happens by way of plot or character developmentuntil the least reel. Which means that we get more of the above recriminations and denials. To alleviate the proceedings, there are some physical struggles with Jeff gaining momentarily the upper hand–until Hayley prevails again.

In the tense and prolonged climax, a helpless Jeff is tied down on a table, with a bag of ice cubes over his crotch, about to be castrated by Hayley. When the girl says, “it's time for a little preventive maintenance,” and starts shaving his crotch, we begin to suspect that her knowledge may be based on previous experience rather than medical school (as she claims).

Periodically, there are some welcome pauses from the brutal sadism. Hence, Jeff recalls a traumatic childhood experience in which he was caught by his aunt playing with his cousin, though it was the girl's pleasurable habit to jump over him wet and naked after taking a bath. In other words, Jeff had experienced fear and threatening torture before and the issue of molestation is familiar to him.

The movie then takes a turn for the worse, when it makes Hayley a crazed teenager, possibly a psychopathic liar (a younger sister to Glenn Close's Alex in Fatal Attraction), since she denies everything she had said about her past. Constantly shifting perspectives and gazes, the filmmakers seem unable to decide which direction to go.

At one point, we are willing to give the benefit of the doubt to Jeff, not because of his innocence but because of the extremity and joy with which Hayley take to the various forms of abusing Jeff. The very last scene, which trivializes the issue and changes the film's meaning, is disturbing but dissatisfying on any level.

Brian Nelson's uneven screenplay seems to have been constructed with theatrical skill and sensibility, though the movie is not static or stagey. It's hard to tell whether the writer deliberately sends conflicting signals or whether he could not find a plausible solution to the dilemma that he sets up.

If the low-budget movie, which could be described as “a date from hell,” appears to be stylishly sleek in the manner of commercials, it's due to director David Slade's background with music videos

For a low-budget first feature, Hard Candy flaunts good production values, with sharp wide-screen cinematography by Jo Willems, elegant and trendy dcor from designer Jeremy Reed, and striking score that serves well the twists and turns of the narrative from Molly Nyman and Harry Esscott.

But it's the astonishing acting that impresses the most, particularly Ellen Page, a major talent to watch, who has already done considerable work (unfamiliar to me). In a tough and increasingly unsympathetic role, Page makes all the right moves, handling her long dialogue sequences with bravura maturity.

Equally good is Wilson, who spends most of the time tied and sweaty, but is entirely convincing as the smooth-talking photographer. In the early scenes, Wilson recalls in manner if not in look Treat Williams and his seduction scenes with the young Laura Dern in Smooth Talk.

xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbethttps://bsport.fithttps://onbet88.ooohttps://i9bet.bizhttps://hi88.ooohttps://okvip.athttps://f8bet.athttps://fb88.cashhttps://vn88.cashhttps://shbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter