directed by Neil Armfield
(Renaissance, 2006)

Is Candy a love story or a drug story? Or a love story about the love of drugs?

The movie is an unflinchingly honest look at a couple addicted to heroin. The pair is played by Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish (neither with a terribly good complexion due to their drug use). As a whole, the movie is a montage of rather cliched scenes of drug abuse. You get the bad -- the crippling agony of going cold turkey, the violent rages when demanding a fix, a miscarriage and emotional pain on top of withdrawal, and so on. There are also the rare moments of beauty, of the enjoyment of life driving in the sunlight with the top down.

The scenes are rounded out with the pure strangeness of drug havens, such as the juxtaposition of Geoffrey Rush playing Microsoft's Flight Simulator while a tan cabana boy in an orange Speedo lounges in the background.

Individual scenes are compelling, moving and shocking, but as a whole, the film doesn't leave an impression. This is a repackaging of vignettes that have been told before (and in much better films, like Requiem for a Dream or, on the lighter side, Spun). Everything in Candy has been done before, and in better quality works. This is not to say that the acting isn't first rate, or that there aren't amazing scenes. but Candy as a whole is just not a memorable film.

My cynical side wonders if the director believed that "gorgeous people ruined by drugs" was enough of a premise for a movie and focused merely on scandalous scenes of drug use, rather than the film as a whole. I'm a junkie for movies about addiction and psychological pain, so I had to watch this one, but it isn't one I'll be recommending to friends.

review by
Jessica Lux-Baumann

10 November 2007

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