Film Research - Hard Candy

Can I just say before I start that Hard Candy is a great film and if you haven't seen it you should run down to the nearest shop and BUY IT. Obviously don't go running into a Favourite Chicken to look for it if that's the closest shop to you... You know what I meant. Also Ellen Page is a fabulous actress and I love her. Okay I'm done now. In the opening, two characters, a young female, and slightly older male, are shown having a conversation online. They then meet up in a local cafe style shop called 'Nighthawks'. It is made clear that the characters have never met before, and have only spoken online. The first minute and a half of the film is a close up of a computer screen, showing two people having a conversation over the internet. The camera pans down the screen, and then to the left. It is made clear from this shot that one is a man, from the user name 'Lensman319' and that the other person is female, with the user name 'thonggrrrl14'. The user names could also hint the character's ages. For example the man could be 31 years old, whilst the girl is 14, although the 'mature' conversation could contrast this. The sound in the first scene positions the viewer, telling them that they are seeing through the eyes of the girl, as they can hear her typing. The next shot is a close up of somebody cutting a slice of cake with a fork. This tells the viewer that one of the characters, presumably the girl, as the previous scene was from her point of view, was at 'Nighthawks', the place where the characters decided to meet up. The shot then changes to a medium close up from the side, showing the girl eating the cake. As this shot is from the side, it could give the viewer the impression that she is being 'watched', probably by the man she is waiting to meet. The camera pans slightly to the right in this shot, giving the impression that whoever is 'watching' her is trying to see her from the front. We can also tell from this shot that she is in her teens, most likely 14 or 15 years old. The next shot is a medium close up of a man, probably in his late 20's, early 30's. It's also slightly low angled, making him appear taller, which could represent his importance or his dominance. It then cuts to another medium close up of the girl, but this time from the back. It gives the viewer the impression that the man is standing behind her. As she turns around in response to him speaking, the camera zooms in on her, showing her reaction. It is then made clear that they were the people who were talking in the first scene, as they are heard addressing each other by their names. He is heard talking, but not seen in the next 3 shots, as they are all close ups/medium close ups of the girl. They are all shot from a slightly high angle, giving the impression that although the man isn't in the shot, he is very much in control. From the opening, it is clear that the main focus is the girl, Hayley, as she has the most screen time. In the opening, the use of editing is mostly very subtle, with just quick simple cuts to the next shot, which made the film look realistic. Differently to this, the transition from the computer scene to the scene in 'Nighthawks' was broken up by the use of the 'fade to black' transition. The use of this transition was very good and effective, as it separated the scenes without distracting from the action. It gave the effect of time passing and didn't look tacky or unprofessional, which can sometimes happen when transitions are too overused. The use of mise-en-scene in the opening informed the viewer very well of what the 'situation' was in the film. For example, when the characters were speaking online to each other, the use of their user names already gave us some insight to the characters, without actually seeing either of them. The 'speech' also gave the viewer an idea of the situation, as it informed them that the two characters are strangers, but have obviously spoken a lot online before. The 'flirtyness' of the conversation is quite uncomfortable to watch, as we assume from the user names that there is a large age gap between the two. Also the way that the conversation is online is unnerving to watch, as if feels very secret and private, like we are seeing something we shouldn't. This works very well to engage the viewer, as it makes them want to see what happens in the rest of the film. The use of the cake is very symbolic, as cake is seen as something 'tempting' or 'desirable' by the majority of people, although it is bad for them. This could be parallel to the relationship between the characters, as the man may know that it is wrong to approach a 14 year old girl in such a way, but can't help himself. The costume of the characters also works very well when giving us background information on the characters. Hayley is dressed casually, in a red hoodie, which makes her seem more childish, in contrast to Jeff, who is in a suit and glasses, which makes him seem a lot more professional and mature. The contrast in style also gives us the impression that Jeff could easily take advantage of Hayley, as his costume makes him appear very intelligent. Despite this, the colour of Hayley's hoodie, red, is commonly associated with anger, or danger. This could subtly show that she is not the sweet and innocent young girl she appears to be. The titles, credits, and studio names lasted just over 2 minutes. (I skipped this when I was analysing the opening so I could have more than 50 seconds of actual film to write about) The colour scheme used was very simple, black, white and red. The font was easily readable, although it had a 'smudge' effect as it left the screen. The main two cast members were on the screen for around 3 seconds each, and were in the middle of the shot, showing the viewer that they will be the main characters. Other than the production company and studio company logos, they were the first things on the screen. The rest of the opening credits is the names and jobs of the main crew. It's a little hard to explain the style of the opening credits, so here's a few pictures.

I think the opening of this film was very effective, as it hooked the viewer from the start, despite how uncomfortable the scene was. It introduced us quickly to the main characters, and gave us some background information on them without actually telling us. 

The opening isn't really like what we have planned, as we want ours to be very fast paced and this one was quite slow, so ours will be quite different to most films of it's genre, which I for one would like if I was seeing the film. Although the openings our very different, we aim to show a clear 'villain' and 'victim' in the first scene of our opening, although it will have a twist which is hinted at in the opening, but would be revealed later on in the film.

1 comment:

  1. Check paragraphing.

    More specific use of media language would be beneficial.

    A clearer explanation of how this has influenced you / what you have chosen to ignore would be very useful.

    Possibly some screen shots to illustarte ideas would be good.