Hard Candy (2006)

[8.5]

A 14-year-old goes home with a guy in his 30s. What follows is a nightmarish power struggle. Hard Candy is an intense character-driven thriller that succeeds primarily for the incredible performances of Patrick Wilson (Watchmen) and Ellen Page (Juno). The screenplay dives into murky moral waters, asking us to empathize with a young girl who inflicts torture and a grown man who may or may not be a pedophile. It’s refreshing to see a movie where good and evil aren’t so black and white, and where two performances are allowed to carry the entire film. Page is talented beyond her years and completely diabolical, while Wilson delivers a brave, vulnerable performance that you rarely see from men in the movies. There’s some thorny psychology toward the end, and the movie throws in some unnecessary twists in the final scenes, but this is dark, disturbing, provocative stuff. If you have testicles, it could be one of the scariest movies you ever see.

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