Published on May 22nd, 2006 | by admin



By Simone Ubaldi

Two junkies fight a losing battle to keep their heads above water in Neil Armfield’s Candy, a new Australian feature which sports an A-list cast but suffers terribly from its own insignificance.

Heath Ledger stars as Danny, the long time lover of Candy (both the woman and the drug) and Abbie Cornish reprises her Somersault role as the little-girl-lost and the object of Danny’s affection.

Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Luke Davies, Candy follows the glaze-eyed idealists from the early stages of their love affair with heroin (and with each other) through the increasingly morbid spirals of hell that inevitably follow. Familiar genre calling cards poison their relationship, from pawnshops to prostitution, foetal ghosts to family horror, and the audience is slowly flattened by the dead weight of their hopeless future.

With the Academy-sanctioned dignity of Geoffrey Rush in a supporting role, Candy should have every opportunity to find an audience, although it hardly deserves it. Though well scripted, acted and shot, this inner urban tale of self-inflicted tragedy pales in comparison to at least half a dozen cinematic explorations of addiction and desire that came before it.

Abbie Cornish is still lighting up the screen and Heath Ledger is passably potent as a tragic poet and hapless heroin victim, but neither of them can out-perform their story, which is tired, worn and completely unnecessary. And while its no real crime to make a good film that is unoriginal, you can’t help but wonder which great Australian film script was buried in favour of Candy’s disappointingly conventional heroin chic.


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