Hard Candy is an engrossing thriller that will keep you strapped into your seat.
A stellar performance by Ellen Page highlights the movie’s morally gray plot, which makes for an absorbing cat and mouse game. But after confusing the audience throughout the movie in who’s really the innocent and the victim, it takes a serious topic and ends with nothing to say.
Hayley, an underage girl, meets up with a 30-something fashion photographer that she’s been chatting with on the internet. Jeff looks harmless but his presence there doesn’t make him less of a creep either – casually wiping off the chocolate from her lips with his thumb and kissing her feet. But Hayley’s flirting too and with her suggestion, they go to his place.
Things take a sudden turn as Jeff finds himself tied to a chair, and Hayley suddenly flips out into some victim avenging torturer.
At the start, Hayley tries to find out if Jeff had anything to do with the disappearance of a girl whose picture was found in his collection. The plot veers away from this pursuit and turns into a torture movie. It’s a cat and mouse game that turns progressively vague.
Jeff is a pedophile but you don’t really know the extent of his crimes. Hayley is a vigilante bordering on being a psychopath. Some people would probably even root for Jeff because of this.
In the end, we know nothing more than what we already saw. Jeff’s crimes are still undetermined. While Hayley proclaims to be the avenger of every girl he has taken advantage of, she doesn’t care whatever the extent of his involvement is, which we still don’t know.
The ending makes it seem like pedophilia is just used as a jumping-off platform to stage a torture film, but its ambiguity will stay with you.
Hard Candy is a gripping morally ambiguous thriller that's propelled by a great performance by Ellen Page.