Sunday, August 05, 2007
I think the reason why a movie such as Hard Candy makes me so angry is because it takes something that is truly horrific, like the kidnapping, torture and murder of teenage girls, into a tawdry, immoral revenge drama. It's a sad state when, by the end of the film, you find yourself sympathizing more with the villain than with the presumed "innocent" protagonist. What's worse than that to me, though, is the fact that it offers no hope or consolation, just a convenient murder, carried out renegade-style, by a 14-year-old girl who's obviously got her own set of problems already. The fact that the director thinks it's fair to offer up a teenage girl's humanity in the service of "all of the girls who have been molested all over the world" is worse than unimaginative and cruel, it's repulsive. After carrying out unspeakable torture, and, as I mentioned before, revenge killing, the girl walks away, presumably unscathed, back into her previously normal life.
Admittedly, I had a small crisis of conscience while watching the film, thinking to myself, why is it that I find this so upsetting, but I will go to my grave defending a movie like Hostel, that not only happily turns the tables on the aggressors, but makes you gleefully participate in their own torture? Well, for starters, Hostel never makes a claim that the revenge doesn't affect those participating in it. They take revenge out of necessity and survival; they don't entrap and premeditate their aggressors' killings. Hostel at least takes a stance; it's firmly in the court of the victims the whole time. Hostel is at least removed from reality; it exists in a fantasy world that's so over the top and ridiculous that it's totally unbelievable. Whereas Hard Candy exploits child molestation, something that happens every day in every city in America, so that a screen writer can obviously create a dialogue and sick fantasy out of their therapy sessions.
How two truly credible, talented and such watchable actors like Patrick Wilson and Sandra Oh got mixed up in this sordid, z-grade piece of shit is also beyond me. They must have owed somebody somewhere a really big favor. Now they owe me a really big favor.