Hard Candy

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Rating: R

Starring:
Patrick Wilson as Jeff Kohlver
Ellen Page as Hayley Stark
Sandra Oh as Judy Tokuda
Odessa Rae as Janelle Rogers

Special Features:
Commentary by director David Slade and writer Brian Nelson

Commentary by actors Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page

Deleted and extended scenes
“Creating Hard Candy” featurette

“Controversial Confection” mini-featurette

DVD-ROM: Production notebook

Trailer

Other Info:
Widescreen
5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
2.0 Dolby Digital Audio
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 105 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

“A smart, charming teenage girl, Hayley probably shouldn’t be going to a local coffee shop to meet Jeff, a 30-something fashion photographer she met on the Internet. But before she knows it, she’s mixing drinks at Jeff’s place and stripping for an impromptu photo shoot. It’s Jeff’s lucky night. But Hayley isn’t as innocent as she looks, and the night takes a turn when she begins to impose a hard-hitting investigation on Jeff in an attempt to reveal his possibly scandalous past.”

“Hard Candy” is rated R for disturbing violent and aberrant sexual content involving a teen, and for language.

Mini-Review:
“Hard Candy” succeeds on a lot of fronts. It is as nail biting as any thriller you’ll see. It’s as scary as many horror films now hitting screens. It delivers social commentary that is hard hitting, timely, and unique. It’s writing and acting is incredibly well done. In short, it ranks among the best indie cinema you’ll find.

I can’t discuss the film much without ruining some of its surprises, but suffice it to say that it’s a unique revenge/vigilante film. The whole story depends upon the performance of Ellen Page as Hayley and she more than delivers. I’ve rarely seen a young actress who can alternately play a character with such innocence, maturity, and malice. Most people were exposed to her for the first time as Kitty Pryde in “X-Men: The Last Stand,” but this movie shows she’s capable of infinitely more. Equally important is the performance of Patrick Wilson as Jeff Kohlver. He’s definitely the villain in the movie, but you find yourself occasionally feeling sorry for him, if only for a fraction of an instant. Considering what kind of character he’s playing, that’s saying a lot. Sandra Oh has a cameo, but an extremely brief one.

My only gripe about “Hard Candy” is a minor one. The film is nearly two hours of two people simply talking to each other. While the dialogue and subject matter is very intriguing, the long discussions frequently drag on. A half hour could have been trimmed from this movie and it would have been just as good.

I would recommend “Hard Candy” to anyone that likes psychological thrillers or indie films. People with queasy stomachs should probably avoid it.

This DVD is packed with good extras. You’ll find a couple of commentaries, one with the actors and one with the filmmakers. Ellen Page comes across just as mature as her character in the film. There’s also an extensive “making of” featurette that covers the casting, production, post-production, etc. It is very in-depth and should be required viewing for aspiring indie filmmakers. Also included is a featurette discussing the controversial subject matter of the film.

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