Drugged Out Insanity

by Alan Rapp on November 17, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

Another Hollywood film about beautiful drug addicted people in love.  Joy.  Haven’t we already seen this film?  Candy offers nothing new to the tired formula other than an opportunity for its stars to stretch their muscles and prove, no matter how beautiful they are, they can come off as completely unlikable on film.

1/2 Star

I’ll start out with a disclaimer, this is not my genre.  Movies about self-absorbed and self-destructive people who destroy the lives, and the lives around them, through their drug addiction usually don’t work for me (though there are exceptions, including this year’s A Scanner Darkly which you can read about here).  The flaw I usual find is strong in Candy, these characters bring the destruction on themselves.  And you know what?  They deserve it.  So why should I care?

Dan (Heath Ledger) is an out-of-work slacker who fancies himself a poet.  Candy (Abbie Cornish) is a smart and beautiful art student who is seduced by Dan’s smile and bohemian lifestyle which includes heroin.  Before long both are hopelessly in love and hopelessly addicted without any way out for either of them.

To support them Dan turns Abbie out to prostitute herself for money to get high, and even considers doing it himself before turning to misdemeanor crime instead. 

Abbie’s future, family life, and unborn child are all destroyed by the couple’s selfishness and stupidity.  They are helped by a father figure of sorts (Geoffrey Rush), a professor who supports the lifestyle and occasionally supplies them with drugs.

With nothing new to say, long drawn out scenes of self-destructive behavior and growing insanity, there’s nothing worth watching, let alone enjoying. 

There are films that present the destructive behavior in a much more focused light, creating a morality tale of sorts.  Darren Aronofsky‘s Requiem for a Dream is such a film.  Cornish is no Jennifer Connelly, and director Neil Arnfield is no Darren Aronofsky (hell, he’s no Darren Stein!).  This is no Dream.  It’s more like a nightmare, at least for the audience.

The film breaks our Oscar Bait Rule; the only reason for its existance is to beg for recogniton, and to try and prove that the films stars can be taken as serious actors.  Why Rush is slumming here no one seems to know, but I bet the check he cashed was helpful.

With nothing to recommend other than a pair of likable stars dehumanizing themselves and each other, I honestly can not give you a single reason to see this film.  It’s harsh, difficult to watch, and perhaps worst of all – it has no point and nothing to say about what it puts its characters and audience through.  Stay away from this candy; its just no good for you.

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