Hard Candy (2005)
This stupid fantasy drama opens as an impressively well-acted and credible drama about internet dating involving a 32-year old man and a 14-year old girl. We're starting to believe that this film actually has understood a bit or two about 14-year old girls and about men who find them irresistibly attractive, but painfully forbidden. Continuing down this path, the film could've been a powerhouse no matter which direction it had chosen. Instead, what we're presented is a ridiculous, insensitive film about a little girl who happens to be a cross between Sherlock Holmes, Kevin McCallister and Jigsaw from Saw. The main thematic line in the film is revenge and anti-pedophilia, but what the film actually wants to say remains in the blue. Since there's no sense of satire in here, and since the film so unambiguously embraces its heroine, it makes it hard to watch and hard to cerebrally enjoy. The film is more pro-vigilante justice than Dirty Harry, and our protagonist here is not at all as plausible as Harry Callahan. It's three times David and Goliath and an idealism (for some people) completely blind to alternative points of view. The casting is perfect, and the acting has potency, but both Page and Wilson are of course defenceless to the implausible actions of their characters. Pedophilia is about to become pop-culture in movies. But still, the only one who really seemed to be able to depict the phenomenon was Vladimir Nabokov.