Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Movie Review: Candy

Cops and robbers, Mafia, Westerns, and drug addiction. It's the holy grail of movies, and as such makes any movie about any of those subjects very hard to do well. Not ever heist movie is "The Italian Job" (see Ocean's 12) and not every tale of hopeless addiction can be "Trainspotting". "Candy" is a pretty good attempt at tackling the subject, though, and made for a good watch. Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish and Geoffrey Rush star in this tale of a young couple who's love for one another is only exceeded by their love of a fix.

Within the first 5 minutes of the film Candy (Corish) begs Dan (Ledger) to let her shoot her heroin rather than snort it. "I want to do it your way" she pleads and after token refusal, she does. This results in Candy nearly dieing, being saved only by Dan shooting her up with homemade saline solution. There is no real glamorization of the life Dan and Candy are living, as is usual in these types of movies, but there is a great juxtaposition of the elation they feel when using and the depths they will sink to to keep doing so.

In the beginning they are just pawning items from their home and hitting people up for cash. Dan asks Candy's Dad for money, ostensibly to buy her a gift, but it goes right in their arms. When they need more cash they turn to Caspar (Rush) who is the kindly gay College Prof, who appears to Dan and Candy as the best possible example of the drug life. He makes his own H, and keeps hot young men in his house to fuck when high. "He doesn't speak much English but he has a huge cock" Caspar tells them of the first such concubine we see.

As Dan and Candy are gripped tighter by heroin's grasp they find they need to do more to get the money needed for their habit. Upon being turned away from a pawn shop with only $25, Candy finds she can get another $100 by fucking the shopkeeper. The slide into full scale prostitution is a frighteningly fast one for Candy, as she ends up working in Brothels, and hooking on the street. Feeling she is doing all the work, Candy demands that Dan starts making money as well, even if he has to start selling himself as well, in what amounts to a twisted demand for equal expectations among the man and woman. Dan says he would be happy to fuck women for money, but doesn't think he can bring himself to be with men. He ends up asking Caspar for information on how he can meet men who will pay for sex, which Caspar is more than willing to help him with. Sent by Caspar to a public toilet, Dan backs out but still makes a huge score, when he steals the wallet of a guy partaking inside.

When Candy discovers that she is pregnant she and Dan are determined to quit for their own sake and the sake of their baby. But as Caspar had told them in the beginning "When you can quit, you don't want to. And when you want to quit you can't" They are three days into self imposed detox, and all the hell that goes with it, when Dan sees that Candy is bleeding. She is forced to deliver the miscarried baby, and the pain in both Dan and Candy is evident.

At this point in the story the couple takes a few more stabs at getting clean, even moving to the country and living on the dole. Their relationship is so strained by what they have been through that they begin to grow apart, and when things come to a head, Candy is checked into a mental hospital. In the movie's last scene, Candy comes to visit Dan at the cafe where he's washing dishes. He is hesitant to see her at first, but when they see each other they kiss, and it looks to be a happy ending. In that moment, however, Dan can see that while they love each other, they are bad for each other. He lets her go, knowing that to be together would mean an eventual return to that life.

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