Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hard Candy

Hard Candy
Directed by David Slade
Written by Brian Nelson
Starring Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page

Patrick Wilson is a pedophile who takes a much younger Ellen Page back to his place for a skeezy afternoon of being illegal. Before he can do anything, though, she drugs him and ties him up. Get it? The victim turns the tables on the predator. For most of the movie, Ellen does things that would make Juno’s water break. Patrick is a truly awful person, but the filmmakers push us to the limits and ask if he deserves everything that happens to him. (Answer: pretty much.)

The shower scene. Like the fountain scene from Friends… except more harrowing.

Oh. And Dr. Yang from Grey’s Anatomy is in it, too. She plays the Asian.

Why did I add this film to my Netflix queue? Two words: Ellen and Page. She is riveting in everything, even in really bad SNL sketches where she has to play a dancing Peter Pan or something. This was her big breakthrough role before she did that movie that forever linked her with teen pregnancy (Damn Inception!). I wasn’t sure how old she was, but she straight-up looks fourteen. And Canadian. I knew that she was good in this, and I knew the basic story, so I thought I’d check it out.

Notice the Carol Brady hair flip?No? You don’t? Me neither.

Due to the subject matter, this film is perhaps the least titillating thing I’ve seen that doesn’t take place at a concentration camp. There is nothing sexy about anything here, which is pretty much the point. The filmmakers hired the beautiful, beautiful Patrick Wilson, but not even his smiling face could make his character a sex symbol.


Also, Patrick has a pretty pronounced bald spot in this film. I’m not sure if he does in real life, or if that was just an artistic choice to make him seem less like an insanely good-looking actor.

Hey! It’s Nicolas Cage!

Surprisingly, not a lot of either. Well, this movie does have a lot of guts. You know, with the pedophilia and all that. But I’m talking about metaphorical guts. Literally, there aren’t any actual internal organs on display here. Hell, this guy gets (SPOILER ALERT) castrated and we see nothing. Thank freaking God.

I think the whole point of this film is to raise some interested questions about revenge and sympathy and how far a bad guy can be hurt before we start feeling sorry for him. Anything explicit and gory would just muddy the message.

So Patrick Wilson has a weird fixation with movies about castration. In addition to this little ball-buster, he did Barry Munday, an indie quirkfest starring Judy Greer and not starring his balls.

He also did Little Children, the movie where Freddy Krueger Redux castrates himself and Kate Winslet has a lot of sex.

Here’s some back. What what.

Thankfully, no. So many people equate pedophilia with gay men. This movie doesn’t even give lip service to that misconception. Now, I’m not saying that this movie wouldn’t work if both roles were male. It would still be creepy as hell. It would still be effective. But it would also perpetuate an idea that is weirdly common among straight people. Sickos can be gay or straight; this movie just happens to be about a straight one, and I’m glad for that.

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