The perils of addiction are depicted in CANDY, a film that has
garnered a lot of attention in Australia where it was made. The film
stars Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish as Dan, a poet, and Candy,
an artist. When they begin their relationship, Dan is already addicted
to heroin and he is reluctant to introduce his lover to the drug, but
at her insistence, he does. Their shared highs intensify their emotional
bond and eventually they are reduced to doing whatever they have
to do -- legal or otherwise -- in order to secure their next fix.
Part of my problem with this film, is that, while well made and
well acted, it doesn't really offer anything that we haven't already
seen. In many ways, I was reminded of various other films about
addiction, including THE DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES,
THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK, and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM.
Ledger is to be commended for following his high profile,
Oscar-nominated turn in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN with this
relatively small Australian film. But because of that performance,
he invokes unintentional laughter with American audiences when in
CANDY his character briefly contemplates a career as a gay escort
but dismisses the idea since he wouldn't have any idea what to do
with another guy.
Cornish is a lovely presence and she delivers a strong turn
as the title character whose descent into addiction is portrayed in
a harrowing and realistic manner.
The leads are ably supported by a cast that includes Geoffrey
Rush as a gay college chemistry instructor who uses his laboratory
to create his own designer drugs and Noni Hazlehurst as Candy's
disappointed mother, aware of what is happening but unable
to reach her daughter emotionally.
CANDY, written and directed by Neil Armfeld, is ranked as one
of contemporary Australia's best feature films (as evidenced by its
nominations for various awards). That it feels more like something
out of American cinema from the late 1960s or early 70s may say
more about the state of Australian film than anything else. Even
though Ledger may have returned to appear in the film, more
and more actors, writers and directors continue to leave to pursue
careers in Hollywood. The drain does take its toll.
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive depiction of drug addiction,
disturbing images, language, sexual
content and nudity
Running time: 108 mins.
Viewed at Magno Review One
|© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.