Candy

 
Directed by: Neil Armfield
Written by:Neil Armfield
Starring: Abbie Cornish, Heath Ledger, Tony Martin, Noni Hazlehurst, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Budge
Released: May 25, 2006
Grade: B+

Dan (Ledger) and Candy (Cornish) are a young couple living in Sydney.  The film chronicles their addiction to heroin and the effect it has on themselves and those around them.

When we first meet Dan and Candy, we plainly see that their use of drugs has become a compulsion.  Almost all of Dan’s wages are spent on drugs.  They come up with dodgy excuses so that they can borrow money from family of friends.  The rent on their tiny apartment is long overdue.

When Dan is sacked at work, the situation worsens.  Dan starts stealing and Candy starts prostituting herself.  Both hate what they are doing by they are forced by an inner craving that cannot be subdued.  The resulting depression sees them turn to more drugs and they soon find themselves on an unstoppable, downward spiral.

Watching them go through this are Candy’s parents, Jim (Martin) and Elaine (Hazlehurst).  They know what’s going on but at the same time, distance themselves from the problem.  It’s easier to sit back and blame Dan as opposed to having the courage to help out.

This may sound like your usual “don’t take drugs” movie but there’s more to it than that.  If you look past the obvious message you’ll see a well told story.  Dan and Candy are regular, down-to-earth people.  They are an ordinary couple who you think would have a long, happy and successful life together.  It’s sad to see their lives being ruined but on the other hand, it’s horrifying to see how easily a drug addiction can develop.

Abbie Cornish (Somersault) and Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain) have delivered two very moving performances.  The emotional impact of the film would not have come through unless their characters were believable.  You’d bet on both receiving an Australian Film Institute Award nomination (at the very least) later this year.