Heroin is bad and, if used for an extended period of time, will ruin your life. That about sums up Candy, an Australian rendition of Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream in which pretty people live in filth, steal from their relatives, and turn tricks in order to satiate their narcotics cravings. It’s degradation in service of an Afterschool Special lesson readily apparent to anyone old enough to see Neil Armfield’s R-rated film, which follows fetching Candy (Abbie Cornish) and her devoted smackhead boyfriend Dan (Heath Ledger) as they destroy their relationship and future by compulsively shooting up. Beginning happily and ending poorly, this prosaic downward spiral (based on Luke Davies’s novel) is laced with dreamy Ledger narration in which Dan mourns the loss of the couple’s initial euphoria, with scenes of the duo’s debasement occasionally interspersed with visits to the home of chemistry professor, committed user, and hedonistic homosexual Caspar (Geoffrey Rush), whose special blend of “Yellow Jesus” heroin is so religiously good that its injection is accompanied by choral singing. That absolutely nothing original is said about addiction might be forgivable if something genuine shone through the blinding haze of clichés, but aside from one brief, authentic exchange between a giggly Candy and Dan in a McDonald’s shortly after their wedding reception, the project is just another vehicle for attractive actors to bolster their résumés by playing pitiful degenerates with unwashed hair and unbrushed teeth. Although with Armfield refusing to depict any actual instances of sex between Candy and her myriad johns, and with Ledger’s Dan refusing to help fund their habit by selling himself, Brokeback Mountain-style, for quick cash, Candy isn’t even committed enough to its material to truly wallow in the muck—no surprise for a film so feeble that it stoops to elucidating its narrative arc with intertitle cards that read “Heaven,” “Earth” and “Hell.”
- Neil Armfield
- Neil Armfield
- Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish, Geoffrey Rush, Tony Martin, Noni Hazlehurst, Tom Budge, Roberto Meza Mont, Damon Herriman
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