Requiem for a Dream
Directed by Darren Aronfsky
Requiem for a Dream is easily one of the most artistic films ever produced. From start to finish, this rollercoaster ride is quite unforgiving and paints an all too realistic depiction of four drug addicted individuals making their way in the world.
This film is best characterized by its gritty realism and attention to detail. The story begins as the characters’ lives are in a state of stagnation. Through the intervention of substances, in some form, they are able craft their lives to form a utopia, so to speak. The characters, then, all face adversity and meet their eventual crash. This functions as an allegory for a single ‘trip’ on heroin or some other such substance, as well as an illustration of the actual effects of long term substance abuse.
There are points in this film that are rather difficult to sit through. Unlike the majority of films of this nature, the unbearable tension is not the result of mass amounts of gore; rather, it is created from the audience’s ability to relate to the characters. Each time a character ‘shoots up,’ the audience can feel the needle piercing into their veins. This amazing effect is conjured from the combination of writer Hubert Selby Jr. and director Darren Aronofsky, both of whom are known for the masterful storytelling abilities within the disturbing genre.
Aronofsky founds the dark atmosphere of this film on the chaotic nature of the cinematography. The combination of quick cuts, wide angle shots and color saturation, gives the film a surreal feeling from which its able to construct its story. The depictions of drug abuse are so disturbing, at times, that a single viewing of this film could function as a substitute for all the ridiculous anti-drug announcements which clutter various forms of media.
Critic James Stanford put it best when he described this film as a “psychotic symphony.” While this film may make you want to turn away at times, you eyes will not be able to remove their gaze from this masterful work.