Hard Candy (2005)
David Slade, USA
This was my first exposure to Ellen Page, and oh boy was it a memorable one. It's hard not to enjoy a movie where someone goes vindictive on a pedophile for 104 minutes, and although Hard Candy is far from perfect, it delivers a pretty intense ride through the lens of an unsuspecting badass heroine. When I first saw this movie, I actually didn't know too much about it. For some reason, Hard Candy had escaped my radar and the first time I heard of it was when I landed on it as I browsed through The Movie Network. This was back in the day when I had The Movie Network (or correction, I was living with my parents and it was they who had premium cable), and I spent many nights clicking through channels hoping for a pleasant surprise. The premise of Hard Candy was definitely surprising, but Ellen Page's performance was unlike anything I've ever seen. As crazy as her character might be, she delivers a performance with both calamity and reserve. And all in all, it's a performance that's damn scary, and borderline psychotic. It's one of those roles I can't imagine anyone else pulling off. And to be fair, being unfamiliar with the actress in question really does wonders for what this character is meant to achieve. Had I seen this movie now, knowing Ellen Page to be the actress that she is, my sense of disbelief might not be as strong. I suppose that's why directors sometimes prefer to cast unknowns for certain roles. And I know that Ellen Page was far from being an unknown in 2005, but the casting of a more 'popular' actress would have produced a very different cinematic experience.