Monday, September 8, 2008

Hard Candy

I endured 103 minutes of torture last night. I mean that two ways. This movie contains some disturbing (although non-graphic) torture. Watching this film was also torturous. I was intrigued by the premise and the sharp dialogue, which made me keep watching. I was certain that the otherwise mediocre movie with a sluggish pace was going to develop into something that delivered. I was left feeling cheated. By the time I realized this movie wasn’t going anywhere I was already three quarters of the way through, feeling obligated to see where the movie ended up. I wish I had that two hours of my life back. Hard Candy is a psychological thriller. I like psychological thrillers and understand that they sometimes require a bit of patience, which eventually pays off as the plot unfolds. The story begins with a close up shot of a computer screen where we observe a chat room exchange that makes it evident that we are witnessing an older man chatting with a young female. The chat leads into a playful invitation to meet, which is ultimately acted upon. The young lady meets the older man at a coffee shop and ends up at his residence where the drama unfolds. In an attempt at table turning suspense, the aggressor engages in a game of cat and mouse that leads to some interesting and disturbing scenes. The movie ends in a rather unbelievable fashion that I will not reveal for anyone who decides to watch this film in spite of my warning. I enjoy strong dialogue in a film. I think too many films take the easy way out, with characters that choose words we can guess even before they are spoken. Hard Candy relies heavily on strong dialogue, sacrificing pace for talk. The pacing is slow and sluggish which makes the otherwise interesting dialogue boring. For me, writing is a balance of dialogue, character development and plot. The plot and premise of this movie provides a vehicle that could have been used to deliver a powerful, interesting movie. Instead, it seems that the plot took intellectual shortcuts, leaving us with flat characters and a plot that I could not accept as plausible. I could care less what happened to any of the characters and found their actions to be ridiculous at times.


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