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TH!INKFilm presents
Candy (2006)

"That was beautiful. Let's have some more."
- Candy (Abbie Cornish)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: March 28, 2007

Stars: Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish, Geoffrey Rush
Other Stars: Noni Hazlehurst, Tony Martin, Tom Budge
Director: Neil Armfield

MPAA Rating: R for (pervasive depiction of drug addiction, disturbing images, language, sexual content, & nudity)
Run Time: 01h:48m:06s
Release Date: March 27, 2007
UPC: 821575549950
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Candy is a small Australian film, does more than simply show two lives on the decline. Instead, the audience is forced to decide for themselves who or what is actually responsible for this downfall. Sure, the drugs are at least fifty-percent of it, but these dynamic characters under solid direction have our brains churning as the end credits roll.

Dan (Heath Ledger) and Candy (Abbie Cornish) are a young couple that sit around their apartment experimenting with drugs. They manage to get married, much to the dismay of Candy's upper-middle-class parents, and as the stresses of married life mount, so do the drugs, and when money is tight, the pair seek solace in their "friend," Casper (Geoffrey Rush), who always has their next fix. Dan and Candy soon find out whether true love can stand the test of their addiction, even when it leads to thievery and prostitution.

We've all seen addiction movies before, but these two actors redefine this subgenre with some truly compelling work. What initially seem like clichéd performances evolve throughout, and by the midway point we're talking award-worthy acting. Ledger builds off of his Oscar-nominated work in Brokeback Mountain to craft yet another unique persona, utilizing his subdued yet striking presence accordingly. Cornish is a revelation and quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Rush is the only underused performer here, and even the actors playing Candy's parents make more out of their characters than expected; they clearly blame Dan for what Candy has become, but it's clear to us that theirs is a two-way street—Candy hasn't exactly been pressured into any of this from the start.

After Candy discovers she's pregnant, the couple make one of their few smart decisions and decide to stop using. Director Neil Armfield then gives us some of the most devastatingly realistic withdrawal footage ever put on film. Of course, we're trained to realize that their sobriety won't last long, but it's the extremely sad, tear-jerking event that lands them back on the junk that sets this apart from other drug-fused movies. Once safely through the "Earth" segment, I doubted I could witness anything worse; on the contrary, the "Hell" portion proves that this is a rollercoaster ride that has only one steep hill and it's a long way from the top to the bottom— 108 minutes to be exact.

The wonderful ending follows suit and defies convention, completing this tale of hopeless love in a most realistic way. The audience might not come away feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, but they sure won't feel cheated. If this is truly what a person becomes when they delve this deep into drugs, then Candy is the ultimate cautionary tale. It's difficult to recommend such harsh material to young people, but after watching what these characters go through, anyone not already addicted would think twice before taking that first hit.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The film doesn't waste a lot of time with trippy drug-induced visuals, but this 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation does feature nothing but crisp, detailed images throughout. The colors are subdued but realistic, and the fleshtones are natural. Dirt and grain are virtually nonexistent in this overall pleasing transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is an impressive, aggressive mix that makes liberal use of the surrounds. The wonderful score envelopes the listener, and aggressive bass is prevalent throughout. Crystal clear dialogue is another constant, and it's well blended into the overall mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Off the Black, The King
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director Neil Armfield & writer Luke Davies.
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Writing on the Wall: Candy's poem in motion - Clip compilation with Abbie Cornish reading Candy's poem.
Extras Review: A nice slate of extras include an audio commentary track by director Neil Armfield and writer Luke Davies, who go into great detail, with the director focusing on the actual filming, and the Davies talking about his book and what he thought about seeing his story put to film.

Writing on the Wall: Candy's poem in motion is a two-minute collection of clips, set to the poem that we hear the title character read during the movie.

Candy: The Path to Wild Abandon is a nine-minute making-of featurette that combines on-set footage with cast and crew interviews. This piece repeats some of the commentary discussion, but the candid on-set material is worth a look.

There's also the theatrical trailer, as well as previews for other THINKFilm releases.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

Candy is a gripping character study from Aussie writer/director Neil Armfield, who does a wonderful job adapting Luke Davies' novel, getting a ton of help from Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish along the way. THINKFilm's disc features wonderful audio and video, as well as a handful of valuable extras that will please the movie's instant fans.


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