REQUIEM FOR A DREAM
(102 mins., unrated) Review by Owen Gleiberman
Darren Aronofsky's mind-bending visual and spiritual plunge into the seduction and terror of drug addiction may be one of the most disturbing movies ever made, yet it's impossible to take your eyes off it. Aronofsky interconnects the tales of four outer-borough New York nobodies. Three are hipster junkies, but the movie, in all likelihood, will be best remembered for Ellen Burstyn's role as a Brighton Beach yenta who goes to a diet doctor and ends up getting hooked on a tangled power surge of uppers and downers. Aronofsky has developed a hypnotically unsettling style of freakout sensuality. This is the rare dark-as-midnight movie that finds its unholy essence--and, in a strange way, its morality--by going "too far." A (#563, Oct. 13) --OG
The brazen, unsettling Requiem for a Dream charts the drug-addled demise of four lost souls. Review by Ty Burr
Well, it's about drugs. Rather, it's about our craving for the highs that promise no tomorrow (whether the specific addiction is diet pills, heroin, or daytime television) and the damage that gets wreaked today. Since most of American popular culture is predicated upon extending that bittersweet high, Requiem for a Dream is clearly a must to avoid for anyone scared of having their buzz harshed.
Your loss. Based on Hubert Selby Jr.'s unsparing novel and filmed in a brilliantly kinetic style that director Darren Aronofsky [Pi] correctly calls "hip-hop montage," Requiem follows three sweet young junkies (Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans, all unexpectedly superb) and an aging, speed-addicted widow (Burstyn) as they spiral gladly, sadly down through the seasons of one year. The wham-bang editing delivers the pleasures of the rush; the quieter moments hint at the love that addicts of every kind devoutly wish for. Wisely left unrated (it would have been branded NC-17), it's a movie that should be shown in every high school--and every acting class--in the country. A