Oct 14, 2011

[Movies] Candy (2006)

Candy (2006)I was stumped as to what I could possible review for today when I asked my partner for possible movie recommendations. Since he was going to be away for work, it was one of those rare times that I'd be home alone, thus a good chance to watch a movie he had already seen that I hadn't. While I could always just write a review for a movie that I had seen some time ago, it just wouldn't feel the same.

So he gave me options and I avoided the horror stuff for now (since I didn't want to watch that kind of a movie alone) and was not overly thrilled by the odd romance. So we ended up with this movie mainly because it had Heath Ledger in it, and he's had quite a number of interesting films over the course of his brief yet fairly impressive movie career.

The only potential problem here was the fact that the it was yet another movie that centered around drug abuse.

With all due respect to movie makers around the world, but far too many movies about drug usage tend to be overly similar. We know its' a self-destructive habit, we know it's bad for your health and all that stuff. So when you decide to make a movie about drug usage, one kind of expects that you're going to bring something new to the table.

I'm not quite sure if this movie did that.

Candy is a 2006 Australian drama (or romance) as directed by (then) new filmmaker Neil Armfield. He also contributed to the screenplay together with Luke Davies.

The movie starts with us meeting our two lovers - the poet Dan (Heath Ledger) and the artist Candy (Abbie Cornish). The two are clearly in love with one another - something that did come across very well, although both are heroin users, as influenced by Dan. Thus they have their beautiful and poignant moments and their bitter hateful low points as well, something the director tries to depict as clearly as possible. There is also the role of Casper (Geoffrey Rush), a quirky university professor who often supports the two whether financially or by directly providing narcotics himself.

Eventually the two get married and they continue on in their drug-fueled life. This leads to some rather extreme moments like resorting to prostituting themselves in order to buy more drugs and that sort of thing that we often see in drug-themed movies. But when Candy discovers she's pregnant, the two swear to quit drugs and go clean in an effort to help the baby come out healthy.

The movie first plays out like a sort of docu-drama about drug use and its effects on young people. I'm not saying this because it was shot like a reality TV show or somehow cinema verite or something. It's more because not much seems to happen in the story - the characters are in love from the very beginning and we are just made to accept this fact. And we just watch them do their thing together whether it means having a lovely time at the pool together or trying to scrounge up money for another hit. Not exactly gripping stuff.

And then we just follow them around some more as we see how Candy's parents are affected by their daughter falling into drugs, their struggles to not get overly involved and Geoffrey rush being a poof, or something like that. But I should stop beating this dead horse.

(* 4. April 1979 in Perth, Western Australia, ...Image via WikipediaWhat is great about this movie is the level of acting talent that Ledger and Cornish bring to the table. The roles they portray demand quite a significant emotional range to be depicted on screen. We're talking about everything from the sweet moments lovers share to the irrational rages that people get when dealing with substance abuse. And they performed all that quite amazingly without overly resorting to movie tropes in terms of how people on drugs "should" act.

The movie went on to win some awards at various film festivals, although I don't quite see why. While it is a rather realistic and stark view at how drugs can rip your life apart, that concept as a whole is nothing new, really. We've so many movies that have done that and others that have used the drug element as a smaller piece in a larger, more interesting narrative. This movie didn't quite do that for me.

Candy is a decent movie that's slightly depressing, but most drug movies, especially romantic ones, tend to end up with this tone one way or another. It still gets 3 crazy hijinks the coupple get into to score more money for heroin out of a possible 5.

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