drama DVD and movie reviews and previews from curledupdvd.com - curled up with a good dvd
drama DVD reviews and previews from curledupdvd.com - curled up with a good dvd
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Hard Candy - drama DVD review
HARD CANDY Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Actors: Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page, Sandra Oh, Odessa Rae, Gilbert John
Director: David Slade   Studio: Lions Gate
DVD release: 19 September 2006   Runtime: 105 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio Tracks (English, Dolby Digital 5.1; English, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Subtitles (English, Spanish), Audio commentaries (Slade & writer Brian Nelson; Wilson & Page), Deleted & extended scenes, "Creating Hard Candy" featurette, "Controversial Confection" featurette, DVD-ROM Production notebook, Trailer

First off, kudos to Lionsgate for picking this film up and distributing it. Much like another Lionsgate release, Monster's Ball, this film is a low-budget psychological drama that relies solely on human interaction, gut-wrenching emotion, and absolutely stunning performances from the small cast. Forewarned is forearmed: the subject matter is not for everyone. Though not bloody or gory (minus one scene where the imagination does all the work) the film does delve into the realm of pedophiles. Written by Brian Nelson and directed by David Slade, Hard Candy stars Patrick Wilson as Jeff Kohlver, a thirty-two-year-old photographer, and Ellen Page as seemingly innocent fourteen year-old Haley Stark.

The movie opens on a computer screen as Jeff tries to manipulate Haley through instant messaging into meeting him. They eventually meet at a coffeehouse where they flirt, exchange looks, and generally play the feel-each-other out game with a hint of sexual tension. Eventually, Jeff gets Haley to his studio, and the movie hunkers down into a two-person play where the twists and turns are all character-driven and psychological. There is just enough of a build from innocent teen to absolute psychopath to keep the story interesting. Though the script is structured like a play (even so, the development of Jeff and Haley is tremendous) with the two characters, the actors do a tremendous job in keeping things believable. At times Haley is so cold, calculating, and precise that it starts to strain credibility, but that coldness does lend a great deal of sympathy for Jeff.

There are twists and turns enough to keep the movie chugging along. For the small budget and minimal location, the film is executed amazingly well. Had it had a bigger budget, perhaps 3 to 5 million dollars, there could have been more to cut away to, giving the movie a less claustrophobic feel. The movie is more cunning than controversial, but if you want to give your brain a break from the CGI-heavy flicks and watch a film that relies more on dialogue, facial expressions, and acting, this should pique your interest.

The DVD comes with a decent amount of extras: Commentary by writer Brian Nelson and director David Slade, commentary by Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page, deleted scenes, "Creating Hard Candy" featurette, and the trailer.
reviewed by Bobby Blades
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