December 9, 2008

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

This is one of those films that I had always been meaning to watch, yet for whatever reason it passed me by. That is until recently, now I can enjoy the constant ass-kicking I will give myself for waiting so damned long. Why? Purely and simply because it is one of those movies that really is that good. However, I can assure you that it is not a feel good movie.

Requiem follows the life of four Brighton Beach residents; Harry (Jared Leto) and Tyrone (Marlon Wayans), Tyrone's girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly) and his mother Sarah (Ellen Burstyn), as each of them gets slowly swallowed up by their addictions. Harry and Tyrone are drug addicts who have the great idea of starting their own business dealing. A grand plan if it were not for their own addictions, and Marion's too. She's just as eager to get as high as the other two.

Sarah, Harry's mother, has her own addictions too. Firstly it is the television, closely followed by her dieting. The two collide when Sarah believes she has been invited to appear on a TV show, causing her to fret about her weight. At the advice of one of her friends, she visits a doctor to get some pills to help her lose weight. It comes as no surprise as she becomes addicted to these; an addiction that will have a devestating effect on her world.

That's not to say the effect on the three friends is any less tragic as the movie, its story and protagonists slowly descend into the kind of Hell that is hard to imagine.

From start to finish Requiem for a Dream had me gripped, its halicinatory visual style which director Darren Aronofsky works wonderfully onto the screen is aided and abetted perfectly by the flawless cast. Although Leto, Wayans and Connelly all give incredible performances it is Burstyn who steals the show here. Her performance is wonderful, not to mention scary, as the loving mother with one too many vices. By the time the movie draws to a close she is almost unrecognizable.

On top of everything this movie features one of the best soundtracks I have heard in many a year. In fact I heard the soundtrack long before I saw the movie, and have it playing almost constant. Clint Mansell's score seems to perfectly encapsulate the events onscreen.

Requiem for a Dream is by far one of the best films I have seen and I recommend it to just about everyone. The slightly experimental style of the film may put off those that prefer a more conventional style of film, and you might need a strong stomach as it is relatively graphic in places.

Superb stuff though from start to finish.

Rating 4 stars

Review by Jude Felton


thebonebreaker said...

Great Review Jude!

I agree that Burstyn stole the movie - amazing performance!

Anonymous said...

Ellen Burstyn as "Sarah Goldfarb": My single favorite female acting performance EVER. No shit . . . it's that damn good, IMO.

Heart-wrenching stuff. My eyes get a little wet, no matter how many times I see REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, every time I watch her do the "I'm lonely, I'm old" monologue.


Mary Kirkland said...

I agree, this is a really moving movie.