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Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Little Red KILLING Hood...



Warning: this post contains details about plot events of “HardCandy” – a 2005 psychological thriller movie. I rather recommend you not reading it before watching the film as even the smallest piece of information concerning twists or climaxes (yes, more than one!) will spoil bewilderment / shock / confusion / uniqueness (altogether let’s call it ‘pleasure’) of experiencing that independent production on your own...

It lasts 100 minutes. 99% of the time is led by two main characters, 14-year-old Hayley (perfect Ellen Page) and 18 years older Jeff (genuine Patrick Wilson). There are only 9 minutes of music. Rest is dialogues, speeches (but not preaches!) and silence...


Opening scene: as I am following the online chat between Thongrrrl14 and Lensman319, the picture which comes to my mind is of a bad-looking, sinister deceiver – exactly like from this social advert ‘you never know who’s on the other side’.

First twist: the moment Jeff the photographer meets Hayley the teenager at a public cafe, he turns out to be very nice, charismatic and likeable, so positive and sensitive – not dangerous at all. When the girl comments: You just don't look like the kind of guy who has to meet girls over the internet, he simply answers: I think it's better to meet people online first sometimes. You get to know what they're like inside. When you work as a photographer you find out real quick, people's faces lie. But so instantly they both behave more and more flirtatious and teasing – the teenager in a such sweet, naive way – I feel the tension grows. He invites her to his home and she agrees – yep! Gotcha! In a while I expect the horror to begin...

Second twist: ...but surprisingly at man’s house the young guest takes the initiative. With some intoxicant in the alcoholic screwdriver she poisons the adult, ties him to the chair, prepares some torture instruments. Woo hoo! Wait a minute! Who’s the villan, who’s the victim?? Hayley accuses Jeff of being a pedophile but he pleads himself unguilty. Quite convincing and empathic he is, isn’t he? And she... still intelligent, but more and more diabolic, scurvy, spiteful... That's that whole nature versus nurture question, isn't it? Was I born a cute, vindictive, little bitch or... did society make me that way? – hearing these words from her mouth I started asking myself: what the hell? Perhaps it truly is an act of blind revenge towards an innocent person??

First climax: here comes the time when tiny 14-year-old puts on a doctor’s apron and very seriously gets herself and her ‘patient’ ready for performing a... castration. I am uneasy. Even though I agree with what she says in general, I can’t help feeling sympathy to the exposed, helpless guy. But maybe it seems a kind of ‘catharsis’ for all underage rape sufferers, when they listen to arguments like this: "She was so sexy. She was asking for it." "She was only technically a girl. She acted like a woman." It's just so easy to blame a kid, isn't it? Just because a girl knows how to imitate a woman does not mean she's ready to do what a woman does. I mean, you're the grown-up here. If a kid is  experimenting and says something flirtatious, you ignore it. You don't encourage it. If a kid says, "Hey, let's make screwdrivers," you take the alcohol away and you don't race them to the next drink!

Jeff, horrified and sweating, tries his best negotiating skills: You're getting yourself in terrible trouble. If you cut me in any way, you won't forget it. It changes you when you hurt somebody. The things you do wrong... They haunt you. You wanna remember this day when you're with a guy on a date? Or on your wedding night? 'Cause I promise you, you will. Don't do that to yourself.

Hayley reacts with nasty laughter: You know, that is so thoughtful. You are speaking to me so selflessly. I mean, you just don't want me to castrate you for my own benefit? But then, when she says: I am every little girl you ever watched... touched, hurt, screwed, killed – it does sound painful and heartbreaking...

OK, I depicted like half of the film. I assure you, watching the second part is sitting on the edge too. I’m also leaving you with questions, doubts and enigmas: is Jeff a pedophile or not? Who’s Hayley for real? Why is she wearing a red, hooded sweatshirt at the very beginning and ending? What does the title mean? Final death is a suicide or murder? Eventually, how do you find the whole movie?... Cause I personally admire totally everything in it. After seeing numerous times it still is my favourite cinematographic masterpiece ever.