1001 Movie Club: Requiem for a Dream
It’s time for the third installment of first month of the 1001 Movie Club. Of the four films we watched in November, Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream is my favorite. It’s the director’s first film after Pi which put him on the map in a very, very good way.
The script was adapted for the big screen by Aronofsky and Hubert Selby Jr., and is based on Selby’s book of the same name. It closely examines a small group of people and their addictions. There’s Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), his mother Sara (Ellen Burnstyn), Harry’s girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly, and his best friend Tyron (Marlon Wayans), among others. Harry, Marion, and Tyron are recreational drug users that decide to start pushing in order to finance other dreams. Sara is blissfully ignorant about her sons indulgences, and chooses food as her fix. Her obsession with becoming thins leads her to an addiction to uppers in the form of weight loss pills.
The film is most definitely too intense for some. The film premiered at Cannes, and quickly after was given an NC-17 rating for a particularly aberrant sex scene. It’s holds an extremely harsh view of the drug scene and seeks to make that clear at every point. A lot of Selby’s original seventies’ slang is kept intact, and it makes for some fantastic dialogue. Every performance is spot on, especially Ms. Burnstyn who received an Oscar nom.
Aronofsky’s specific style for the film is mesmerizing. Requiem has over 2,000 cuts, as opposed to the normal six or seven hundred. The whole thing is coupled with one of the most haunting and beautiful scores that’s been made for a film in a long time. Yes, the film is incredibly bleak, but this is one of the best examples of the power and magic of film making.