In Requiem for a Dream (2000), director Darren Aronofsky taps into several obsessions of American culture, chiefly the idea of happiness, which is frequently confused with entertainment. It is one of the most forceful anti-drug narratives ever to be committed to celluloid. To call this movie a cautionary tale would be to apply a label that is too moderate -- Requiem for a Dream presents the darkest take imaginable on a story of hopes and dreams shattered by drug addiction. There's no preaching or sermonizing here, just an almost-clinical depiction of lives laid to waste. This is not a film for the weak of mind or soul.
The constant message that something external to ourselves will solve everything is a rhythm of modern life. Adapted from Hubert Selby Jr.’s 1978 book of the same title and co-scripted by Aronofsky and Selby, Requiem for a Dream offers an unpleasant glimpse of how awry the whole system can go.
'Requiem'' interweaves the stories of four drug addicts -- Harry(Jared Leto); his mother, Sara (Ellen Burstyn); his girlfriend, Marion (Jennifer Connelly); and his buddy, Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) -- the drug they all are hooked on is the American Dream, with its promises of big cash paydays and fame and eventually happiness.
We're introduced to Sara as she cowers in a locked room while her son 'steals' her beloved television to fuel his drug habit. Once he's flush from a once-in-a-lifetime score, he buys her a fabulous new television, but is alarmed to learn his mom's become an amphetamine junkie courtesy of a local 'diet' doctor. Her game show dreams will not be complete unless she can fit into a special red dress worn on a family occasion twenty years ago.
Of course, Harry also neglects his own advice and dips into his own stash, losing his fortune and forcing to Marion date her former therapist, so she can get some money to keep Harry's drug business going. This is just the beginning of all three's far worse fates.
AnalysisBurstyn is fabulous as the meek, naive housewife who loves her only son. Her harrowing decent into madness is jolting, like you were watching a kindly elderly relative enter hell. She won a Oscar for her role. Leto retains sympathy by letting the true love he feels for his mother shine through. Jennifer Connelly's performance gives the movie weight, since her fall is the most precipitous. She is wonderful as a artist, who loses every shred of human dignity by sticking on with Harry. Wayans is also good, as Ty, who also reflects on the love of a single mother.
Director Aronofsky draws astonishing performances from his actors. He intensifies the feeling with the use of split screens. Instead of falling back on the cliches of drug-addicts, he races through their buzzes because he wants to show how quickly the time passes when they're high. And it explains why their lives are so empty when they're not consuming, which drug movies haven't made so clear before. The movie was granted the MPAA's NC-17 for its uncompromising portrayal of the depths to which some people will sink to get their fix. No images "prettied up". Undaunted by the MPAA's hypocritical and senseless stance, Aronofsky appealed the rating, rightfully claiming that cutting any portion of the film would dilute, if not outright destroy, its message. The appeal was denied , but it released eventually as unrated.
Requiem for a Dream‘s fantastic score by Clint Mansell works on its own as a requiem but coupled with the images, it becomes integral to the agonizing effects of the film. It has a piercing feeling of doom.
Amusement parks, money, and television all promise immediate satisfaction , an instant change from the boring ordinary to the fabulous extraordinary. More than anything, they promise happiness. Not only a stark meditation on drug-taking, Requiem for a Dream is a meditation on various forms of consumption. Advertising promises products that not only simplify but better one’s life, a return to infantile security and comfort.
Don't be fooled by the passively poetic title; this film demands much from the viewer and the rewards are bitter. Requiem for a Dream is not sadness, but a heavier, emptier sense of loss--one that's even harder to shake. If you hate watching this movie second time , there lies it's success.
Requiem For A Dream - Imdb