Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, et al
Rated R, 102 minutes

Adapted from a novel by Hubert Selby Jr. and directed by Darren Aronofsky, Requiem for a Dream is a story of addictions. Harry Goldfarb (Leto) is young and out of high school. He and his friend Tyrone (Wayans) begin to push drugs on the street – in part, to finance Harry’s girlfriend (Connelly) in her quest to make something of herself with a clothing store. Meanwhile, Harry’s mother (Burstyn) suddenly gets a call to be a contestant on television. Now a widower, with her son away from home, the phone call means more to her than perhaps it should. She begins taking speed to lose weight. Our characters, as one might expect, go on to experience some mighty big ups and downs.

The acting in this movie is powerful. Try not to be moved by mother Sara Goldfarb’s speech about growing older, and living each day just for a piece of mail from the TV station. Marlon Wayans turns in a surprisingly good performance as well. Christopher McDonald increases his stock as a character actor, playing a TV infomercial figure that Sara can’t turn away from.

The visual style is, in most instances, intriguing. Lots of quick cuts, repetitious drug imagery, split-screening – it’s quite a buffet for the senses. Only in select scenes does it detract from the story.


A satisfying movie. Requiem for a Dream is a gritty look into addiction, and a real look into the minds of the characters who are addicted. Being a wrestling fan, and enjoying this film so much, I now have more reason to anticipate Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming movie “The Wrestler.”

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