Saturday, June 14, 2008

CANDY (2006)


: R
: 108 minutes
: Neil Armfield (Twelfth Night; The Castanet Club)
: Neil Armfield (Twelfth Night)
: Abbie Cornish, Heath Ledger, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Budge, Tony Martin, Holly Austin, Noni Hazlehurst, Luke Davies

It’s hard to make a drug movie without making drugs look fun. Even the anti-drug movies are often mistaken as glamorizing addiction (“Trainspotting” for example). To a filmmaker’s credit there is that certain allure to why people use and to quote “Trainspotting”- there is an upside to using drugs after all- “we’re not fucking stupid. Or at least we’re not that fucking stupid”. The upside, of course, is not really an upside in the long run because the addiction eventually ruins everything and the upside ends up becoming a long, lost forgotten memory. That is what the heartbreaking drug movie, “Candy”, is about and it’s one of the only drug movies, along with “Requiem for a Dream”, that does a good job in showing that while drugs can cause the user pleasure, it is not worth the aftermath. “Trainspotting” is my all-time favorite film and while it did- unintentionally- provide me with a fascination with drugs, I still strongly believe it is an anti-drug film- though that movie did have a “happy” ending or at least an ending that hinted towards being happy. “Candy” is not that type of movie. It’s also not as good as “Trainspotting” or “Requiem for a Dream” and it’s bleak outlook, though brutally honest is what sometimes goes against it. People that complain that a lot of modern horror movies are nothing but torture films could make the same complaint here. The movie’s two protagonists, Candy (Abbie Cornish) and Dan (the late Heath Ledger- who tragically died the way his own character here might have), suffer through 95% of the movie. The drug glamour scenes are done and out of the way ten minutes in- Candy has all ready suffered a near fatal overdose and has whored herself out to a pawn shop owner for a few extra bucks so her and Dan can score. “Candy” is not a movie about the good times, it is a movie strictly about the bad times. While it may be not be as an intense as “Requiem for a Dream” was, if you found that a bummer at least you had the visual eye candy to ease your sorrow. “Candy” is told very matter of factly, without camera tricks or a thumping techno soundtrack, it is quite frankly (and trust me on this) one of the most realistic drug movies ever made. Candy and Dan are young lovers who at the beginning of the film have a lot of blooming talent- Candy is a painter and Dan a poet. They swim together in a pool, embraced in each other’s arms, lips interlocked. It is sad that an hour later into the film, they can barely to stand be around each other without substances. They try to kick, but end up stealing to use. They lie to each other. There is paranoia and jealousy. The movie goes to a lot of dark places other drug movies haven’t touched. That being said, it is almost too much to take. For me personally, the movie hit a little too close to home at times and I had to pause it to take a cigarette break. There is a dead baby sequence in here that trumps the dead baby sequence in “Trainspotting”- something I thought could never be trumped. “Candy” is like watching someone else’s nightmare, unless you were unfortunate enough to live through a similar nightmare. So the question is- do you want to watch something so painful for nearly two hours? Does this qualify as entertainment or does it just qualify as a stern warning to anyone that thinks there is glamour to that kind of lifestyle? If sitting in a car while your wife sleeps with a dirty old man for an extra twenty dollars so you can both get high for a couple of hours seems glamorous, then “Candy” is a movie that you need to watch. If you all ready feel that that’s something that you could never see yourself doing, then maybe you should watch it anyway. But don’t say I didn’t warn you when you the end credits roll up. An accurate drug movie is not going to be a good time and it’s not going to leave you with a good feeling- just like the real deal.

Download Soundtrack MP3s:
Tim Buckley- Song to the Siren
Soul Coughing- Rolling

Buy the DVD Here
Buy the Soundtrack Here (Import)


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