Hard Candy

The premise of this film is a cat and mouse game and what happens when the weak becomes the strong when the hunter becomes the hunted, a real David and goliath tale. Opening with a computer screen containing on-line chat room banter we see two people arrange a meeting. What happens from the moment they meet is the crux of this cautionary tale as he is a thirty two year old photographer and she a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl. As we progress through the plot it seems that he has groomed other young girls on the net and is about to do the same here with Hayley that is until she turns the table on him. Jeff begins the film all suave and casual and slowly unravels as Hayley wreaks her vengeance upon him. What isn’t apparent is who Hayley actually is, where she has come from, how she came to choose Jeff and what untimely is her goal, what does she want to achieve and why? We soon learn that Jeff isn’t whiter than snow as Hayley exposes the skeletons in his closet, so he’s a bad person, fair enough. But if she knew this why not just tell the police? Could it be that she enjoys torturing people? Is she crazy? A lot of these questions remain unanswered and not so the viewer can interpret it themselves like in French movie hidden, it seems to me that it would have made more sense to give Hayley some background instead she arrives and leaves like a underage ghost. The two central performances are excellent and the way the film is shot makes for claustrophobic and uneasy viewing which all add to the twisted tension. The colour is also very bleak and washed out which I think is a direct reference to Jeff’s situation. Hard candy isn’t a bad film by any means and it carries itself quite well but as it finished I felt empty like I needed a little more it was too open ended to really stick with me and by the time I’d left the cinema I’d forgotten who Hayley and Jeff were, maybe that was intentional to suggest that they only existed to each other in cyberspace and so only existed to the viewer for the time you spent watching film. Either way I thought it was good but not really what I expected.
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