HARD CANDY (2005)
You know the lecture. We've all heard it at one point in our lives since the invention of the world wide web. "There's nothing but perverts and pedophiles out there. Beware." And so parents do their best to monitors their children and sleep easy to the sounds of Chris Hansen on Dateline. Everyone's out to kill our children. If it's not the internet, it's the strangers we talk to and the man on the side of the road sticking his thumb out. I don't know about you, but I've always thought the only person more frightening than the hitchhiker with a hockey mask is the driver who's willing to pick up a hitchhiker with a hockey mask. Hard Candy falls somewhere along those lines. It follows the journey of a 14 year old girl (Ellen Page) who decides to finally meet face-to-face the 32 year old photographer (Patrick Wilson) who has been chatting her up on the internet. To say any more than that is really to spoil the brilliance of the movie. What I will say is that what plays out is an intense cat-and-mouse game that would probably put Patrick Bateman to shame.
The real brilliance of this movie is in the acting. The concept itself is fantastic, but it's the actors who really turn it around. Ellen Page is not the soft little thing you remember from Juno. She's got a multitude of sides to her, and she plays them all with a chilling deadpan brilliance. As for Patrick Wilson, I can't help but like the guy. Between Watchmen and The A-Team, I'm sold. Sandra Oh makes a brief appearance, but for the most part the entirety of the movie focuses completely on the two leads. They not only play off each other fantastically, but are also excellent in their own right. One of the great things this movie has going for it is good, old fashioned suspense. It's the monster behind the curtains that never really shows its face. It's the very visceral feeling of dread as you watch the characters spiral further and further out of control. If you've got a taste for tension and it's been an hour since your last meal, I'd definitely suggest checking this one out.