There’s probably a myriad of reasons why Requiem for a Dream is a stunning masterpiece, but I am simply not enlightened enough to see why. Maybe it’s because drugs in cinema aren’t my thing, or because I have very little sympathy for the characters. In any case, I couldn’t care less about this movie, but since so many people do, I’ve decided to write about it anyway.
This brainless film depicts a drug addict Harry (Jared Leto) along with his mate Tyrone (Marlon Wayans), girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly) and mother Sarah (Ellen Burstyn), as they all succumb to drug abuse. In fact, at the start of the film, the first three are already junkies; we don’t see how they have arrived at that state, meaning that I don’t sympathise with them at the beginning of the film. The fact that they fuck it up by the end seems like a natural fitting conclusion. I’m all but glad it happened to them. More interesting is the mother, now a widow, who spends most of her day alone in her apartment following a strict diet and fantasising about being on television. She receives a call, or at least believes she does, that she’s going to appear on one of her favourite shows and tries to lose weight fast. To help with the weight loss, she takes pills that her son advises her against. These pills make her paranoid and schizophrenic, and at the end she is a mess just like everyone else. A pity that this story takes up less than a third of the movie, when the rest is such garbage.
Now for some technical details. There were a few aspects of this film that should have deterred me from watching it right from the very beginning. Indeed, the only reason I did watch it was to tick off another film in the 1001 Movies book.
- The film was directed by Darren Aronofsky. Yes, he may have given the world the most awesome sex scene ever in Black Swan, but really I can’t say I’m a massive fan. This film was directed right after he made π, another movie I absolutely detest. The man seems to have lots of style but very little substance.
- The lead star is Jared Leto, who infamously – on this site at least – portrayed Basil in Basil. His acting wasn’t great then, and it wasn’t great now. Don’t you just want to smack that stupid gormless face?
Nevertheless, there were parts that I liked simply for their aesthetic value – Aronofsky’s style, not his substance. The soundtrack, whilst repetitive, did actually come into its own near the end of the film with dynamic changes as a form of leitmotif. That was cool. The brief film clips whenever someone took drugs was also rather fun and quirky and also unique too. The use of split-screen cameras didn’t seem necessary at all, but once again, looked cool.
Nevertheless, I still wish I hadn’t given myself such a difficult challenge of watching all the movies in that confounded book. Some of them are great, but others, like this one and The Jerk make the challenge such a chore. What really pains me about this movie is how dreadfully dull the moral is. To get the same message that I did from this film, save yourself some time and watch the clip below.