Hard Candy (Blu-ray) (2005)

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Released 3-Nov-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller None
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time ?
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Slade
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Patrick Wilson
Ellen Page
Sandra Oh
Odessa Rae
Gilbert John
Case Amaray Variant
RPI ? Music Harry Escott
Molly Nyman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080i
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    14-year-old Hayley (a pre-Juno Ellen Page) has met 32 year old photographer Jeff (Patrick Wilson) online and arranged a date. She was glad to meet someone who realised she was much more mature than other girls her age and willing to take her seriously. She's happy to head back to his house and spend some "quality time" with him. So Jeff is led to believe...

    Sweet young Hayley is actually a lot less naive than she has led Jeff to believe. Enough so as to see through Jeff's perverted game before she met him. Enough so as to plan out a sinister revenge for herself and any other young girls that Jeff has taken advantage of.

    Hard Candy is a taut, manipulative thriller. Viewers are guaranteed to squirm as Hayley turns the tables on Jeff. Aside from a very short, arguably superfluous, role for Sandra Oh as a concerned neighbour, Hard Candy is a tense two-person affair. Page and Wilson are flawless in their part and have a chemistry that brings out every ounce of their character's sinister motives.

    Visually, the film does an excellent job of hiding its particularly low (sub $1 million) budget. First-time feature director David Slade evidently learned a few tricks in his years directing music videos, as the film employs particularly stylish and fluid photography that looks better than countless films made on far greater budgets.

    Guaranteed to challenge your perceptions and preconceptions, Hard Candy is essential viewing for all thriller fans.

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Transfer Quality

Video

Disclaimer: Please note that this disc has a video resolution of 1080i. It has been reviewed on a display device with a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL). More information can be found here.

    The film is presented in its original 2.40:1 aspect in 1080i/50Hz. Though the image isn't quite as smooth as you may expect of a 1080p/24Hz transfer, most viewers would be pressed to notice the difference.

    The video looks clean and sharp, with a mellow level of filmic grain. There is a good level of shadow detail. The colour palette reflects the film's theatrical look well, which appears to have a slight blue filtered look to it that makes skin tones look a little pale but makes most block colours stand out. The image lacks a degree of fine detail that would put it on par with the best high definition transfers, but few people will find too much to complain about.

    There is no sign of film artefacts or video compression artefacts.

    English subtitles are available for the film. Based on the portion sampled they appear to be accurate and reasonably well timed.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The film features a single English 5.1 DTS (1.5Kbps) audio track.

    The audio is crisp and clear. The dialogue is easy to understand and placed well in the mix. The audio is in good sync to the video.

    The film features a very minimal soundtrack. Rather than a traditional score, carefully chosen ambient noises are used to heighten tension and set the mood throughout most of the film.

    The surrounds and subwoofer are used in a very calculated fashion and create a particularly uneasy environment that forms an integral part of the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Nothing, unless you wish to count the unskippable anti-piracy trailer the film opens with (a variant on the "Australia makes great films" ad that, amusingly, seems to have finally comes to the realisation that we don't).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Hard Candy has not yet made it onto Blu-ray elsewhere in the world.

    Weighed against the DVD editions of the film, all of which were more or less identical, this is a bit of a disappointment. Whilst there is a definite improvement in picture and audio quality over the DVD transfers (certainly more than a conventional DVD upscale would offer), this edition misses out on the substantial extra features the DVD editions contained. That amounts to about an hour of comprehensive "making of" featurettes, covering all aspects of production and marketing, two audio commentary tracks, around 10 minutes of deleted scenes and substantial DVD-ROM content that included the film's final script and production art. Don't be surprised if we see a double-dip with this title.

Summary

    A brilliant, unconventional thriller with great performances from Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson.

    The video is presented in 1080i, rather than 1080p, but looks very good nonetheless. The audio is excellent. The extras are non-existant, which is disappointing when compared to the feature-laden DVD editions of the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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