REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (2000)
Requiem for a Dream is a confronting and disturbing urban horror movie, which speaks volumes about the tragic consequences of drug addiction, and how drugs are a destructor of the mind, body, and soul.
The film is based around the lives of four main characters. Jared Leto and Marlon Wayans play two heroin users who decide to get into the drug trade; Jennifer Connelly plays Leto’s girlfriend, who is forced to prostitute herself when funds quickly run dry; and Ellen Burstyn is remarkable as Leto’s long suffering mother who – after given the news that she will appear in a future episode of her favourite TV show – decides to lose weight in order to fit into her favourite red dress.
To say that Burstyn gives the single greatest performance of her storied 30 plus year career may a bold statement, but it is the absolute truth.
Jared Leto and Jennifer Connelly are great as junkie lovebirds, Connelly especially delivering a brave turn in a role that demands many confronting scenes. Hell, even Marlon Wayans – perhaps the biggest example of bad taste in cinema this side of Rob Scheider – delivers exceptional work.
Supporting roles are filled nicely by Christopher McDonald as an infomercial host, and Keith David as a devious and seedy pimp.
With the film comes cinema’s new great visualist, Darren Aronofsky, who uses every tool at his disposal to bring to life his unique take on Hebert Selby Jr.’s novel.
Split screens, various camera angles, scenes slowed down, scenes quickened, and numerous other filming techniques – all extraordinarily pieced together by editor Jay Rabinowitz – are used to convert the lives of these junkies whose conceptions of reality and fantasy begin to merge.
In the process, Aronofsky has pieced together the most tragic, tragic, and depraved montage found in the films last 20 odd minutes.
Combined with the films extraordinary performances and its pulsating and emotive score by Clint Mansell (along with the Kronos Quartet), Requiem for a Dream becomes an incredibly potent anti-drug film.