REQUIEM FOR A DREAM
By Ben Falk
It's fair to say that you won't see many films like "Requiem For A Dream". Adapted from a novel by "Last Exit To Brooklyn" author Hubert Selby Jr, this tackles equally tough subjects, in an equally uncompromising fashion.
It follows four Coney Island residents: Lonely Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn) and her bored son Harry (Jared Leto); Harry's best mate Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) and Harry's girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly) - as they follow the path of destruction into drugs hell.
However, this is not strictly a drugs movie. Instead, it shows how anything can become addictive, whether it's the television that rules Sara's life, the post - on which Sara waits with baited breath for her invite onto her favourite TV gameshow - and of course the crack pipe, heroin needle, or line of cocaine.
There are two things though that lift this movie above the norm: one is the staggering performances from all the players (Ellen Burstyn in particular produces something which should be watched and marvelled at by any wannabe actors) and the other is the flamboyant and innovative visual style of director Darren Aronofsky ("Pi"). Some say it's merely gimmicks. Well, in this context, the result is frighteningly effective. He has said that he is searching for completely subjective cinema and this is it - as you career headlong, sometimes literally, into the characters' nightmare. This is, without a doubt, cutting-edge film-making.
Be warned: this is not for the faint-hearted. It's brutal, stark, stomach-churning, and unglamorous. But provided you're prepared for the journey, it's one you won't forget in a hurry.