Monthly Archives: April 2006

HARD CANDY

David Slade directs Brian Nelson’s two-character study, a wicked psychological thriller. At the film’s center is a game of sexually-related oneupsmanship, this time between a twisted young woman and the photographer (twice her age) she meets online and agrees to go home with after seeing each other face to face in a coffee bar. Ellen Page (previously unknown to me; she went on to star in Jason Reitman’s “Juno,” which was my favorite film of 2007) is brilliant as the disturbed (yet sympathetic) young lady who is convinced that this older man (Patrick Wilson of “Little Children”) has molested young women in the past and that she is just the girl to turn the tables and punish him for it. The film teeters back and forth in perpetual ambiguity throughout as to whether he’s guilty or not, and if so – of what? Well-filmed on a tiny budget, this could easily be done as a two-character play and would be just as mesmerizing on stage as it is, kinetically, on the silver screen. Disturbing and thought-provoking, skirting exploitation without ever diving right in, this is one of the most devisive and brilliant films of the year.

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