Wednesday Rewind: Hard Candy

Some films have a lot to answer for. Take Hard Candy: it has given us To Catch A Predator, a director who would go on to direct a Twilight film and that gratuitous castration scene. On the other hand, it gave us not only Juno herself, Ellen Page, but also Patrick Wilson who went on to make Watchmen's Night Owl so believable. Of course, most of all, it gave us a vastly under-valued film.

Featuring barely more than two characters, only two others appearing, just one with lines, the film is a subtle game of cat and mouse between a man who claims not to be a paedophile and the fourteen-year-old girl he meets online and isn't all she seems.

What follows veers wildly from twisted romantic comedy, to creepy horror, to tense thriller, to brain-melting mystery, but always remains involving due to Page's charisma and Wilson's outright commitment to the role.

The film's budget was kept under $1 million for fear that the studio would demand changes if they had to make a greater investment, yet Hard Candy remains a testament to what can be achieved with minimal cash. It looks sumptuous, with fabulous set design (stolen from a real house) and sharp, perspective-blurring angles creating an almost nauseating surrounding for a gruelling story.

More than anything else, the film's triumph is in making you feel and even root for two characters who may well both be monsters in their own way. If you like your morals in grey areas and your films with many layers, this is one you need to see.

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