Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Candy, Heath Ledger's last movie, was quite a dramatic performance. Being that I am such a strong lover of independent films, I checked out his latest indie film, Candy, and felt as awkward and strange after it as when one watches Requiem for a Dream.
Candy is about a couple who turn their good, healthy, loving relationship into a drug-induced nightmare. The movie is based on a book which separates the piece into three parts: heaven, earth, and hell. Obviously, heaven starts out when everything is workable and good. They can drown out in heroin and still get away with things. They pawn what they steal and make love--everything seems fine. Then, in earth, their lives start to spiral down. They start prostitution and live in pretty terrible condition. The viewer can see the physical deterioration taking place in the couple because of their lifestyle and the drugs.
Candy is a nice play on words, because the main character's name is Candy, which alludes to the fact that Heath's character was addicted to the girl and the drug. Drugs can become like a partner in the relationship, unable to break away from the destruction or damage caused. Intelligent connection the author created.
The film is also very artistic and focuses a lot on the artist corrupted by drug addiction. I do think many amazing artists were and are under the influence of drugs, but some cannot handle it. Some are ruined by it. This movie is an example of the negative influence of drugs on the artist, how it used to help create but then leads to the end of creation because of over-consumption.
Some plot details really didn't match up for me though. I mean, I can see how a girl from a good, prosperous family could turn into a prostitute who is hooked on hard drugs. They set it up that her mother mentally destroyed her from the need to be perfect, so she strayed the be the opposite. Drugs were an escape until they became her life. I could see how a family would take them in or help them, but maybe once they become wrapped up in the drug circle, all options look hopeless.
Certain things I have been learning about drug addiction through various research (i.e. documentaries, memoirs, novels, textbooks, and from friends) is that the drug can become one's life. Nothing else matters. It is what they can depend on, the thing that is always there and always makes them feel better. It's what they know, and change is hard to initiate.
I just can't believe how far people will continue to slip into the drug, no matter how devastating the effect on the body or the life itself. Candy, Heath's girlfriend, loses a baby because she can't kick her habit. They hold the tiny baby in their hands, way premature, and they still continue to do drugs even though they have killed a life. They sell their bodies for it. Their bodies become weak and frail, and they lose teeth and color in their skin. It's just insane how far one will go. They ignore all the warning signs and just keep going down and down and down. It's depressing to watch.
But, this is the truth. Drugs were and are prevalent in America as they are in other countries. It seems that in the 60s, we had acid. In the 70s, we had marijuana. In the 80s, we had coke. In the 90s, we had crack. In the 00s, we have meth. Heroin was always around in there somewhere. There's always a popular drug, but this is going towards a chemically-based dependency. The progression of the drug trend is scary--these are becoming dangerous and unhealthy. It's scary to see where we'll be in the 10s.
Anyway, I was blown away by Heath's last performance. It's kind of sad that this is the way he went out, even though he did a fantastic job portraying a hopeless drug addict. I bet this role would lead some to think about his lifestyle having to do with his questionable death. I don't think the role coinsides with his death, but it surely is a last tragic performance. Well done Heath. He went out on a bang, if you ask me.
What did you think of Candy? Or even, Heath Ledger's abrupt passing?