“It’s a reason to smile. It makes tomorrow all right”Review by Lewis Goodall
*pours a sachet of cocaine on a table, draw lines with my debit card, roll up a tenner and snorts the line* Wooooooooooooah okay right, let’s get this review going let’s do this *claps hands and sniffs*.
Requiem for a dream is Darren Aronofsky’s depiction of Coney Island, inhabited by drug dealers and and drug takers. We specifically follow 4 residents whose lives are transformed and twisted as each of their addictions slowly take control. We have Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), a low-life cracker who will do anything for his next hit, mainly continuously stealing his mum’s TV and flogging it to the local pawn shop. Harry’s Mum, Sara (Ellen Burstyn), Learns that she has won the opportunity to be on her favourite TV show to be a contestant. We have Harry’s best friend and business partner, Tyrone (Marlon Wayans), whose very much the same as Harry but strives to be a better man. Lastly we have Harry’s girlfriend, Marion (Jennifer Connelly), an integral part to keeping Harry grounded and working alongside him so that she can open up her own shoe shop. All of them must continue to keep control as each of their separate addiction consume them as they go to any length to fill the voids in life.
Evidently there’s a lot going on her in this story so excuse me for a second *applies tourniquet and hotlines heroin to the veins* WOOOOOAH right boom let’s do this okay. Something I’ve learnt from Darren Aronofsky’s films is that he definitely has a knack for creating an insanely fleshed out story that visually crescendo’s to end with an experience that’s very hard to forget. We’ve seen that here with ‘Black Swan‘ (a film I consider perfect, please watch it) and also ‘Mother!‘. Each of these both are unforgettable so I assumed that Requiem for a dream would be exactly the same and….. yeah it’s the same, still cant get it out of my *sniff* head.
So if you feel uncomfortable when you see the ‘Drug misuse’ warning on the back of a case then this film probably isn’t for you, even though I would still recommend it because it’s a fantastic film, maybe just cover your eyes when there’s drugs on screen, if you do that then you can still probably see 3 minutes of this film. The story deals a lot with the way that addictions can take you life and contort it. The addictions explored within this film certainly do contain drugs as a foundation but it’s more about the way that every day life and the goals you strive to achieve can become your addictions. This is explored 4 different ways within our characters. So we have Harry, typical looking junkie who works along side Tyrone, dealing drugs to strive for the high life of being able to retire early surrounded by babes and sand, this is just the subtext I’m taking from this, it’s never explicitly mentioned but isn’t that what everyone wants when they retire?? So as a way of starting out they steal Harry’s mums TV. The mum is fairly used to this as she’s on first name terms with the owner of the pawn shop. As Harry and Tyrone do everything they can to achieve infinite wealth, Harry’s mum strives to fit into a red dress she’s had for years for when she appears on TV. Starting on a diet consisting of half a grapefruit and an egg, she starts craving food more and more but still wants to lose weight. Her friend advises her to see her doctor for appetite suppressors, which leads to her being controlled by these pills that make her hallucinate to the point where she believes her fridge is alive (Sounds goofy but it works, trust me). Lastly we have Marion who yes is a junkie who loves a hit of the good stuff but ultimately strives for human connection.
All of these stories are told incredibly well as you see of them slowly becoming corrupt by their new found addictions. The way they portray the characters taking hits from their designated drugs is interesting because I actually don’t think they show them explicitly using. Every time someone takes a hit it has a montage of close up shots consisting of blood cells reacting, syringes and pupils dilating and it’s all incredibly satisfying *Snorts another line*. Just the way that all these stories are told as they weave in and out of each other, I found each different vein as interesting as the next, although being slow at the beginning, as you learn more and more about the characters, you learn more about their addictions and how they are affecting them. I will admit though that I found the mums story the most enjoyable at the beginning as you could really see these suppressors taking over, not just mentally but physically. Ellen who plays her lost 40lbs over the course of shooting which is dedication to the roll and made it that much more real and certainly packs a punch.
Of course the story tells the story, that’s the whole point of having a story, but what was interesting was how the film is cut, there is a ridiculous amount of cuts within this film and it felt very erratic which really supported the uncontrollable feeling that you get throughout the film (and before you think I’m being pretentious, I looked it up and Darren Aronofsky did it on purpose so take that). Down to the cutting and the music, this film is a impeccable with its design.
The end of this film is one that’s going to stick with me because it’s just down right disturbing but honestly I knew what I was getting into from seeing his other films. It’s one of those experiences that needs to be experienced (It’s late, don’t judge my writing) so I wont spoil it all what happens, I wont even have a spoilers section, I’m not giving that up so easily as I urge everyone to see this film as I feel it is an essential film and can be appreciated by everyone, not just junkies. The end, although can be hard to watch, really shows the limits that all these people have gone to to achieve their high and their ultimate downfall.
Overall. *pops 8 PCP’s*. BRrRrRR this film, this film is fantastic, I would go as far as to say the best film about drugs I have seen. What I liked about this film that’s different to normal drug infused films is that it’s not just about the drugs, it’s about the real addictions that play on their minds and what ultimately takes over that leads them to do anything they can to get their fix. It’s not necessarily something where I can say that everyone can relate to this in a way (unless you’re a lean mean user), but I feel it’s a very creative way of showing that anything can be an addiction, whether that’s coffee, dieting, Mexican black tar heroin, there’s something out there for everyone, so you go out there and find what works best for you to fill that void.