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Candy
DVD disk
03.30.2007 By: Jason Adams
Candy order
Director:
Neil Armfield

Actors:
Heath Ledger
Abbie Cornish
Geoffrey Rush

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
This is the story of two junkies in love; Candy, a girl from a nice upper-middle class family and Dan, a poor free-spirited poet. As their relationship and drug use grows, it sets the pair on a path of self-destruction, one where the only glimmer of hope they have is each other.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
After reviewing REQUIEM FOR A DREAM and CANDY in the same week, I think it’s safe to say that I have absolutely no intention of ever doing heroin. (Hear that, mom and dad?) In CANDY, it’s the strength of the performances and the ensuing relationships that convince the viewer to stay away from the syringe. I’d heard raves about Ledger in this film, which were not exaggeration. This is probably the best I’ve seen him as an actor, with a range and desperation that definitely sells the character. However, I want to know where Abbie Cornish came from. I don’t remember seeing her before, but she more than held her own against Ledger and even out-acted him on occasion. Together the pair creates a very realistic and natural relationship, one that creates a feeling of familiarity within the viewer, even if the drug-addled situation is not. There’s a scene between the two at a hospital that’s so emotionally charged that it was nearly impossible to watch (and I’ve seen Takashi Miike movies).

While the acting is great, I found the characters themselves weren’t defined by anything other than their drug use. The only thing we know about the main pair, aside from their addiction, is that Candy is a painter and Dan is a poet (neither activity we see much of during the movie). This severely confines the performances from being more effective. For one, it limits any redeeming characteristics Ledger’s character may have. It’s no mystery why Candy would fall for him (a.k.a. he looks like Heath Ledger and can recite romantic poetry), but for the majority of the movie Dan is just a worthless guy who sits around while his girl sells herself to support them. Secondly, it makes it much easier to sympathize with Candy’s parents over the main couple. If my daughter threw her life away for some unemployed crackhead, I’d probably be pissed off too.

The result is a well-executed film that lacks enough development and distinctiveness to make it stand out from other drug movies like TRAINSPOTTING or REQUIEM FOR A DREAM.
THE EXTRAS
The extras are pretty poor, but the cover art is just awful. For a movie built upon a romantic relationship, they’ve ignored the titular female character and instead opted for the “Heath Ledger stars as Emo Boy!” approach.

Commentary by director Neil Armfield and writer Luke Davies: Two soft-spoken Australians with nothing much to say makes for a rea…Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Writing on the Wall: Candy’s Story in Motion (2:20): At one point in the film, the titular character goes a little crazy and writes a narrative poem on the walls of her house. It’s presented here in it’s entirety with glorified subtitles.

Candy: The Path to Wild Abandon (8:40): Just your average behind-the-scenes feature with cast and crew interviews.

A Theatrical Trailerand some Previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Some great performances are trapped in a movie that you’ve probably seen already before. I can’t say I’d enthusiastically recommend CANDY, unless you’re big on Heath Ledger or the cinematic drug genre.

Extra Tidbit: At one point in the movie, Ledger’s character argues that there’s no way he can work as a gay crackwhore, because he’d “be hopeless at that gay stuff.” I think Jake Gyllenhaal would beg to differ, Heath…
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