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"Requiem For A Dream" and "Pi" Reviews
By Nick Mead

Painful to Watch. More Painful to Resist.

Requiem For A Dream

FILM: Requiem For A Dream (Released in 2000)

STARRING: Ellen Burstyn, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans

RATING: NR (Original given an NC-17 rating, but the studio chose to have it released with no rating.)

Drug addiction is something this country's dealt with at many lengths. It has corrupted kids to the point where they forget their parents names, and destroyed more lives than guns. To say drugs are bad would be an incredible understatement. Drugs are the epidimy of everything that is drowning humanity. Darren Aronofsky realized that when he co-wrote this film with the novel's author Hubert Selby Jr. Although this film takes place in the 70's, addiction isn't as innocent or less destructive.

This is probably one of the most visually dazzling and most true to life films to flash across the silver screen. Darren Aronofsky's talent shows true with these intense images of pain and torment. Clint Mansell (who also provided the score for Pi) makes these visuals all the more disturbing with tracks like Lux Aeterna and Summer Overture make this film a delight to watch and listen to.

The performances, camera work, plot, and overall feel of this film is beyond words, beyond imagination. It hurts to watch this film. Mentally painful to see the down fall these people who you care for so much go through until the amazing climax. Everyone in this film shines with elegant grace that complete this tiny gem. This movie will go down in history as one of the best ever. My friends, this is what cinema was made for. Requiem For A Dream

Aronofsky's incredible style of a filmmaker follows the lives of four people. Three friends who are drawn into drug dealing and ultimately addiction for the mere purpose of starting their own store, and one of their mothers'. Ellen Burstyn plays this woman who also becomes addicted to drugs, only to fit into a red dress for a game show. Everyone in this film gives a daring and Oscar worthy performance that it will startle even the most prepared of movie goers.

The visuals in this film far surpass those in Aronofsky's first feature Pi. Split screens, extreme close-ups, underwater torture, and vicious sex fills the screen in this amazing movie. The NC-17 rating was well put due to this film's extremely disturbing images. Even without the sex this film would still not be worthy of an R rating as it may horrify anyone under the age of 17. This isn't a pretty isn't fun to watch, it is in fact difficult to go through this experience. I nearly broke down and cried many times and my emotional outlook of life changed drastically. But, I would not hesitate one bit at a chance to see it again. If you have an open mind and the heart to muster the most neglected feelings in the human soul, I highly recommend this underrated gem. Hats of to Aronofsky for being one of the most inspiring and amazing directors of all time.

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Chaos Theory Expanded.


FILM: Pi (Released in 1998)

STARRING: Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman


Chaos theory, for those unfamiliar with the term, is based upon the little things that can cause big disruptions in our world. Take the butterfly effect for example; a butterfly flaps its wings somewhere in China and the wind that it stirs up may someday change weather patterns in New York. (Hey, it just might happen!) Time travel is one of the biggest mind bogglers in the our world today. Just going back could change the whole outcome of human history. Yeah, it's a lot to think about, and this film builds upon theories similar to these...more than the rest of the world may want.

Darren Aronofsky is now an instant legend in indie-filmmaking for this film. It is incredibly original, smart, somewhat disturbing, and may stick in your mind like crazy glue. I have never seen a film that has so challenged my perception of reality since David Lynch's Eraserhead. (Viewers have often compared the two films for their similarities in mood and style.) Although, I was kind of thrown off by Eraserhead's metaphores that only Lynch understood, Pi had me gripped until the end.

Pi Cover Gullete plays Max Cohen, a mathematical genius on the brink of a new discovery, and also on the edge of insanity. Everything around us is comprised of patterns, and Max is trying to find one in the largest productions of ordered chaos: the stock market. With the aid of his giant computer system, Euclid, he tries to find a pattern in stocks that are traded every second. After uploading a disk with a Hebrew alphabet, Euclid prints out a two hundred and sixteen digit number that may in fact be the very name of God (According The Torah). Hounded by a stock firm who will do anything to retrieve the code from him and his uncontrolable migraines, Max finds himself in a mess that may or may not end his life.

From moment one, where a tilted angle shows Max waking up with a bloody nose, Aronofsky takes us on a ride with infinate possiblities. His unique style of filmmaking is a real treat for any hardcore indie fan. The dark images of Max's migraine attacks and people that disappear right out of his view really move this one along at a nice pace. Clint Mansell's amazing mixing [and composing] talents could not be any more appropriate. High pitched screechings; fast or slow paced techno tracks--or whatever music is being presented is dead on accurate at creating the desired atmosphere. Gullete is also spectacular in this with his nervous eyes and dull voice that is really quite believable. This film is, however, really confusing the first time around. I suggest watching it twice to catch the full effect. I don't think America will ever see a movie quite like this in a looooong time.

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