Preview by: Jack Foley
ONE of the most shocking films to emerge from this year's Sundance
Film Festival (2005) was Hard Candy, the cat-and-mouse tale of
a teenage girl who turns the tables on a man she thinks is an
Empire magazine included the film in its 'jaw on the floor' round-up
of festival films, noting that 'like the ear-slicing scene in
Reservoir Dogs, this dark two-hander left even the most hardened
It played at Sundance as part of the 'Midnight' section and was
immediately snapped up by Lions Gate Film for worldwide distribution
(excluding the UK, Spain and Australia).
The film centres around a risky game of cat and mouse between
a teenage girl and an older man, where the tables are turned with
It stars Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page and is directed by David
Slade, from a screenplay by Brian Nelson.
Trevor Groth, writing on the Sundance website, declared that
'the film boasts truly breakout performances by its two leads
(Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson) which are career-making revelations."
He concludes: "Hard Candy is a chilling film, completely
and intricately crafted, and has a riveting final denouement -
a rare achievement from young talent."
Needless to say, Lions Gate president
of releasing, Tom Ortenberg, is delighted to have snapped up the
He commented: "Anchored by two great performances, Hard
Candy captured our attention as a stylish provocative psychological
"David Slade [director] presents himself as a major new
talent with this forceful first feature."
The director, himself, is now emerging as something of a hot
property - and he's British.
Commenting on securing a distribution deal, he said after the
festival: "I am so proud to be working with Lions Gate on
the release of Hard Candy.
"This is a film that came to be because of a wonderful script
by Brian Nelson and also the hard work and passion of the cast,
crew and all of the film's producers, including Michael Caldwell
and Richard Hutton at Vulcan Productions and David Higgins and
Slade has enjoyed a successful career in the media and film.
According to Sundance's biography for him, after graduating with
a fine arts degree in Sheffield, he began as a journalist before
moving into directing.
He now divides his time among film, commercials and videos, working
with such artists as Aphex Twin, System of a Down, Muse, and Tori
His work has been nominated for more than 60 awards in the last
And he now lives in Los Angeles with his girlfriend and small
There is no UK release date as yet planned for Hard Candy - although
based on word of mouth, expect that to change soon!