Free-ads - Forum News and columns Features & Interviews Film links Calendar dates for festivals Contact details Statistical Info Funding Info
site web
About Netribution Contact Netribution Search Netribution


interviews / reviews / how to / short shout / carnal cinema / film theory / whining & dining

netribution > features > reviews > film

by shahriar khan | november, 2000

Requiem For A Dream


A stunning, visceral work by a master film-maker, the Godard de nos jours. Aronofsky’s second feature confirms the intelligence and talent shown by his 1998 low-budget hit Pi. Set in New York, sometime in the very near past, Requiem for a Dream tells a harrowing story of the effects of drug addiction on Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), his glamorous girlfriend (Jennifer Connelly), Harry’s best friend Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) and Harry’s widowed mother Sara (Ellen Burstyn).
"Ho hum" you might say, you big city sophisticate and Trainspotting watcher you, but while this film shows us the highs it can never be accused of making drug-taking anything other than a sordid, degrading affair that cripples and infanticizes. Selby and Aronofsky are saying that addiction is the road all too easily taken by all those of us who walk around looking for a sense of well-being, purpose. Completion. "It’s a reason to get up in the morning…It’s a reason to smile already. It makes tomorrow alright", says Sara Goldfarb at one point, justifying her dependence on diet-pills (the same amphetamines her son is taking). She just wants to fit into the red dress her late husband liked so much so that she can wear it on to a game show she’s been invited to appear on.

Ellen Burstyn gives a stand-out performance, it is hard to think of any other mature American actress who would not only be capable of achieving such dignity in humiliation but who would allow herself to be portrayed in such an unflattering light sans-make-up, sans coiffure, sans everything. Sans redemption. We can practically taste the acridity of her sweat as the camera moves in to within an inch of her tortured face.

Heroin chick Jennifer Connelly confirms the promise of her star turn in Keith David’s Waking the Dead (1999) and her ending-up as nothing better than a junkie-whore is all the more affecting for the pure unadulterated skein of her beauty. "Maid Marion" she is called by the dealer who makes her. Bad things shouldn’t happen to Jewish American princesses like her, but they do, because she just wants to feel something more than the pampered daughter of her parents, and her Brooklyn boyfriend Harry and his drugs let her feel that. Jared Leto too, after a few too many roles which have traded on his good looks shows us that he too has actorly depth and breadth. Harry and Marion complete each other, but it is drugs that hold them together. And when the drugs run out…

Such is Aronofsky’s skill in taking us into the hearts and minds of his characters through superlative camera-work, stunning sound-design and sublime editing that we too are made to feel what those ‘highs’ must be like and how heavy those inevitable lows are . Aronofsky and Selby seem to be saying how easy it is for anyone feeling unsatisfied with their life can reach out for their drug of choice. Drugs are all around us. We get the aural and visual equivalent of the clink, clink fizz as a repeated motif applied to speed, smack, television and even coffee. The highs we see, the lows we are immersed in. Any dangers of wanting to taste what the characters are tasting however is dashed by the scrupulousness with which Aronofsky shows to just what sloughs and depths the free-fall from those drug-induced highs takes us. A cautionary tale indeed.

Requiem for a Dream – Written by Hubert Selby Jr. and Darren Aronofsky
Based on Requiem for a Dream (1978) by Hubert Selby Jr.
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
102 minutes

Last Orders
The Hidden Fortress
Mulholland Drive
Back Against the Wall
The Bank
Dark Blue World
Beginners Luck
Gosford Park
The Pledge
The Center of the World
The Man Who Wasn't There
Baby Blues
The Score
The Circle
The Navigators
Mike Bassett:England Manager
George Washington

The Man Who Cried
Crime and Punishment in Suburbia

The Way of The Gun

Green Desert

Three Below Zero

Requiem For A Dream

The King is Alive

The House Of Mirth
The Luzhin Defence

One Day In September
There's Only One Jimmy Grimble
Miss Julie

Purely Belter
Ring 1
Ring 2
Dancer In The Dark

Angels of the Universe

The Exhibited

Billy Elliot

The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook (2nd Edition)
The Filmmakers Handbook
Imagining Reality - the Faber Book of Documentary
Before You Shoot

American Beauty


Copyright © Netribution Ltd 1999-2002
searchhomeabout usprivacy policy