Hard Candy (2005) – Don’t Chat with Strangers

“Hard Candy” itself is a pedophile slang means an underage girl. And of course, I can’t say I have a weird taste in movie and pop culture. I don’t know why but I love this movie. This David Slade’s piece is an anti-thesis of pedophilia about Patrick Wilson as Jeff. He is a well-established single photographer whose hobby once flirting on the internet. But, like what the film is about, he really likes an underage girl. His meeting with Ellen Page as Hayley tried to plan to trap a new victim. Hayley is a 14-year-old teenage girl. Initially, they chatted to each other on the internet. Eventually, they dared to meet in the real world.

Jeff immediately brought Hayley to his house starting with small talk and leading to sensitive but serious topics. Jeff wanted to photograph Hayley for some reason but his plan failed. He fell unconscious because of the drink he had drunk mixed with medicine. Hayley tied up Jeff and began revenge physical actions on psychological games between both of them. They try to manipulate each other in a psychopathic style like Ellen Page as psycho. With just two actors acting on screen, two decision has made: Jeff tried to get out of the trap or Hayley tried to save Jeff in another sense.

“Hard Candy” is a very simple story. For such a simple story, the movie categorized as Rated R movie. Actually, this film doesn’t have a depiction of sex scenes or excessive violence. This psychological movie mixes its script and dialogue with great stress psychologically. The nuances of tension, gripping stiffness and social commentary are different motives. In addition, this film isn’t a film in general. Not that because there is a word pedophile doesn’t mean the movie was bad or taught about bad things. David Slade tried to explore Jeff’s own thoughts and what lay behind this. Why and what are his original motives?

Ellen Page, apart from casting the 14-year-old character, is 17 years old with mature character impersonation. She describes her psycho that you don’t want to deal with her. He is a very psycho-like girl yet calm, smart, and trying to unite this plan of the mind game against Jeff. I thought, why not just kill him because he’s a pedophile? Or maybe there are other reasons but what? In essence, he tried to save him from two different sides whether deleting his background from a pedophile or just playing around. Therefore, Jeff tried to be forgiven even he was very scared to death seeing Hayley as a psycho.

In fact, this is not an entertaining movie especially the theme it carries very sensitive. It has a complex relationship between background and two characters. The absence of pornographic content about pedophilia is a unique connection. Two characters battle against who has the right to achieve their respective roles. Hayley must fulfill any of her ego and revenge besides she is in control of everything. But, is Hayley the worse than we thought? Jeff is a pedophile but we some time rooting with his character. Even though he was tried to get out of the way even to sacrifice something important, so hard to watch. The fact that it’s about a pedophile but is that really what it should deserve?

This film explores the image and pedophile perspective on what lies behind it. “Hard Candy” is an impressive movie with such a minimum cast, and a hard movie. The direction of the movie is so well-executed regardless of the annoying editing and shaky. Watching this film directly from the screen does require a comfort zone. However, this is not a comfortable movie but it’s a difficult film. And after that, it seems like you don’t want to remember it anymore. By the way, love the way the movie calls Roman Polanski subtly but hits.

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Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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