A Movie Log

A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky, 2000)

Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream
Sara Goldfarb: Ellen Burstyn
Harry Goldfarb: Jared Leto
Marion Silver: Jennifer Connelly
Tyrone C. Love: Marlon Wayans
Tappy Tibbons: Christopher McDonald
Ada: Louise Lasser

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Screenplay: Hubert Selby Jr., Darren Aronofsky
Based on a novel by Hubert Selby Jr.
Cinematography: Matthew Libatique
Production design: James Chinlund
Music: Clint Mansell
Film editing: Jay Rabinowitz

Our president recently addressed the opioid crisis by suggesting a familiar cure: Just tell children "Don't do drugs. Drugs are bad." But if that doesn't work, you might show them Requiem for a Dream, which should shock anybody straight. I have a feeling that Darren Aronofsky's film is not regarded quite so highly today as it was when it was released and critics used words like "compelling" and "visionary" about it and its director. Certainly it has a cast giving it their considerable all, and it scores some direct hits not only on the drug culture but also on the manic popular media embodied in the infomercial/game show Sara watches constantly. But before its notorious apocalyptic ending, in which all the major characters are raked through the mire, it often seems to be a vehicle for directorial self-indulgence. The split-screen effect early in the film, when Harry shuts Sara out of the room while he's "borrowing" her TV set, feels more like a show-off technical stunt than like an effective way to heighten the storytelling. And the laid-on effects throughout the film -- off-kilter camera angles, slow-motion and speeded-up scenes, busy montage, color tricks -- don't always advance the story or enhance our understanding of the characters. That said, Requiem for a Dream hasn't lost its power to grab viewers and rub their noses in the messes people make of their lives.

Watched on The Movie Channel

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