Blu-ray Review: Candy

Next month will mark the 12th anniversary of Heath Ledger’s passing. He’d made an immediate splash arriving in America with 10 Things I Hate About You in 1999. He’d stayed busy over the years with The Patriot, A Knight’s Tale, Monsters Ball, Lords of Dogtown and The Brothers Grimm. Between scoring an Oscar nomination for Brokeback Mountain and his legendary performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight, Ledger returned to his native Australia to star in Candy based on the semi-autobiographical Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction by Luke Davies. The film didn’t do too well when it received a limited release in November, 2006. But now Candy is returning on Blu-ray to give fans only used to his hits a chance to see him in an overlooked role.

Dan (Heath Ledger) and Candy (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri‘s Abbie Cornish) are such a cute couple. He fancies himself a poet. She is a painter. They hang out with university professor Casper (Pirates of the Caribbean‘s Geoffrey Rush) for fun. Their fun with the older professor mostly revolves around them scoring heroin. Very quickly their artistic pursuits get derailed as the two figure out various hustles to afford their next fix. When a pawn deal produces extremely low results, Candy gets into prostitution to raise cash. Dan tinkers with the idea of being a hustler, but decides to turn more to crime. Their life gets flipped when Candy finds herself pregnant, but can the two clean up for the sake of the impending child?

Candy doesn’t glamorize the heroin life. There’s nothing glamourous about Dan and Candy’s addiction even though they are two good looking kids. They go from one squalid state to the next. For a while they are good at faking normalcy to trick Candy’s parents into supporting their deeds. But eventually the parents realize the youngsters aren’t merely being artistic bohemians. Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish work so well off each other as a toxic couple that you want them to kick and live happily ever after. But does that ever work out? Candy is a film full of bitter sweetness that shows another side of what Heath could do on screen during his short life.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The resolution brings out the details of their life in Australia. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD MA Surround so you can hear the squalid life around you. There’s also a 2.0 DTS-HD MA Stereo track in case you only have speakers up front. The movie is subtitled.

Audio Commentary with Director Neil Armfield and writer Luke Davies has the two discuss the novel adaptation and working with the cast. They tried to get the This Mortal Coil version of Jeff Buckley’s “Song to the Siren.” But couldn’t license it so they went with Paula Arundell’s cover which they both enjoy.

Candy – The Path to Wild Abandon (9:12) is the vintage making of featurette. They show the various ways they shot the fair ride.

Writing on the Wall – Candy’s Poem in Motion (2:22) takes the words that were written around the house into one piece. They noticed Heath off Monsters Ball.

Theatrical Trailer (1:50) has the romance up front until we find their dark secret.

Shout! Factory presents Candy. Directed by: Neil Armfield. Screenplay by: Neil Armfield & Luke Davies. Starring: Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish & Geoffrey Rush. Rated: R. Running Time: 108. Released: December 3, 2019.

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