Film noir as bright red lollipop, this pointedly s(l)ick cross between Oleanna and I Spit on Your Grave depicts a 32-year-old fashion photographer with an eye for jailbait getting bound and gagged by his latest subject -- a screwdriver-swilling, scalpel-wielding gender-avenger who's all of 14 years old. Hard Candy is a tough one to swallow. Still, the acute precociousness of our score-settling Lolita strains credibility only if you refuse to accept the film's effortless assertion that American pop -- e.g., the internet and, yes, extreme cinema-on-demand -- has lowered the minimum-age requirements for just about everything, including principled payback. Hayley Stark (Ellen Page), the freckle-faced femme fatale who toys with her pedophilic prey in an online chat room before meeting him in the real world, favors retorts as sharp as the surgical tool she threatens to use on him for "preventative maintenance." When Jeff (Patrick Wilson), the perv-turned-victim, pleads from behind tight ropes that his professional rep will be ruined if Hayley calls the cops, the young cultural critic begs to differ. "Didn't Roman Polanski just win an Oscar?"
Director: David Slade
Writer: Brian Nelson
Producer: David W. Higgins, Richard Hutton and Michael Caldwell
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page, Sandra Oh, Jennifer Holmes and Gilbert John