How to make a first-class movie about drugs whose clip will not end in ordinary black and white TV commercials with the next “SAY NO TO DRUGS” label? Probably this question was asked by Darren Aronofsky when in 2000 he decided to screen the Hubert Selby Requiem for a Dream novel.
But, this is not a film about drugs. This is a film about the dark side of a man, of a distorted, rotten, and niggardly reverse of the hungry man’s soul, who deliciously swallows all dreams and hopes that crouch in a man, eternally insatiable in search of the next fix. The requiem for a dream is the view from the other side of the street you were never allowed to cross.
In this paper, the Requiem for a Dream will be analyzed. The content of the film will be shown as well as the acting team that has presented its roles at the top level. In addition, it will be said about the music theme that follows the film and which is perfectly endorsing the action Darren Aronofsky wanted to show. A couple of important information will be said about Darren Aronofsky himself.
Darren Aronofsky is known in film circles as a director of shocking and psychedelic films that often create strong emotions in the viewer that they can not get rid of even after a few hours after the film is finished. The most famous films along with the Requiem for a Dream are definitely well-known Pi (1998), The Fountain of Life (2006) and The Black Swan (2010) for which Natalie Portman won the Oscar.
What makes Aronofsky so special is the theme he deals with, but also the ease with which the dark side of human existence stretches, the ability to find something bright and beautiful in what is the most arrogant and darkest in human beings. As a role model in filmmaking, it is also important to mention Stanley Kubrick, whose influence is visible in many of his works. One of the specific topics that Aronofsky has done in the Requiem for a Dream is the problem of people suffering from addictive substances. The Requiem for a Dream is based on Hubert Selby’s 1978 novel of the same name. It best and most accurately shows the craving and all the problems of the people who deal with and suffer from addictive substances.
The film’s action is based in Brooklyn, where for three seasons we are tracking four interconnected characters on a unique path without return. The most impressive character, and also the central figure of the film, is the widow Sarah Goldfarb, fantastically embodied by Ellen Burstyn. Sarah is a lonely widow, a housewife, alienated from society, and herself, who has spent countless days in front of the television watching a TV show led by charming leader Tappy Tibbons (Christopher McDonald).
Her life is monotonous, reduced to empty and meaningless vegetation in a small cramped apartment that interrupts an unexpected invitation to host in a television show. Sarah suddenly got a reason for life, decided to lose weight in order to get in her red dress. She also visits a doctor who prescribed her weight loss pills (if the doctor said it can not be bad?) She becomes an addict who is in her own disaster, an addict who will be subjected to a very violent way of healing.
Thanks to the call on television, she rises on the social rankings; the red dress becomes a symbol of a better tomorrow, an inaccessible progress and an exit from the disgusting rush of everyday life. Her addiction, of course, in the actual consumption of tablets lies in a higher sense and depending on the confirmation of one’s own identity, which must first be destroyed to re-create it dressed in a red dress on a glittering television screen. Food that is also her curse and pleasure is the only one that keeps her alive for the old life because she does not even have to take away a kilo, just a kilo …
Sarah Goldfarb wants to touch the stars at least for a moment, taste the American dream. The body is tied to a blood-stained cooler, but her spirit in the heights. It is a modern antiaircraft in the senate of mankind, a victim of a TV shop and an inseparable cannibalistic consumer society.
Simply said, Sarah Goldfarb is a human. Her son Harry (Jared Leto) with his girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly) and friend Tyronn C. Love (Marlon Wayans) is experiencing his own, long ago known, agony. Harry and Marion, anarchoinvidualists and narco revolutionaries are young, rebellious, ambitious couple that we meet during the sunny summer at the height of their love. There have many dreams, hopes and plans for which they are only missing a crumb, yet another sold shipment. Crude capitalism devours their dreams.
Harry and Marion do everything to get the money they seem to be the only way out of the dirty poor life and the addiction they are in. Drugs paradoxically breathe life so in one of the scenes where Marion is in front of a mirror with disgust watching her body until she pulls one line and only then accepts it completely and feels like the person that she should be. On the other hand, Harry and Tyron, who runs his own battles, is complicated by an eternal desire to please his mother, is a symbol of a youthful, self-indulgent youth that breaks itself, crucified between the world that is and the world that wants to become, but never will.
The very subject of the film itself is quite unpleasant, but in this film this discomfort is raised to a higher level. Beginning with a very depressing presentation of the lonely old woman and the dangers of the drug addicts to reach the vapor, to their moral and psychic blackness, which is, on the one hand, extremely effective, while on the other hand it is extremely nasty and horrifying. The whole film comes down to the brutal man’s journey to a disaster and the transformation into an uncompromising one that goes undefiled to be self-destroyed.
So at the very climax, Sarah ends up with electroshocks (a scene for which Aronofsky probably found inspiration in Nazi camps), Harry was dismembered and broken into pieces in the hospital, Tyron is in prison, and Marion in a hell of prostitution. The main feature of the very end of the film is the diametrically opposite of most projects with this theme. In addition to the powerful impression that leaves and begins to build itself from the introductory point of view, Aronofsky makes us settle into the life of drug addicts, observe and evaluate their thoughts and needs and, in a way, be complicit in their suffering and psychological crash.
The whole film was accompanied by a fantastic music background by Clint Mansella. Even someone who did not watch a movie can surely recognize the main music theme that follows the movie. The main musical theme is called “Lux Aeterna,” which in translation means “eternal light”, which can be symbolically linked to the desire of the main characters to finally find that light in life, to emerge from the darkness that presses them and begin to live the life they want . It was performed by the Kronos Quartet, which brought every emotion of the main characters that culminated at the end of the film to the climax.
After the film Pi, this is the second Aaron’s film for which Clint Mansella made the music. The technical side of the movie is also epochal. Cinema provides gloomy gray colors, which are very well combined with vigorous, sober mature remedies. A special place in the whole impression of the film has an installation. It is made up of fast and dynamic cuts with a lot of large frames, providing a disturbed and fairly explicit image.
The acting is really great. Jared Leto is very impressive in this film, providing us with a character who lives on the very edge of his own existence, always searching for another “fix”, providing an extremely emotional and complex role. Ellen Burstyn is really spectacular, providing a very daring and dedicated performance. Jennifer Connelly and Marlon Wayans also had great roles. Connelly had a fantastic role as Jared’s girlfriend, who is prone to prostitution just to be able to take drugs. Wayans is solid, rejecting his comic prefix, presents us with a complicated guy looking for approval by his mother, and instead of having it, he finds him in drugs.
An excellent combination of acting, directing, music and remarkable editing made the masterpiece part of the seventh art that will surely remain memorable as a cult film. The Requiem for a Dream touches the hidden corners of your being, influences, changes, and shapes the viewer by stirring up a whole range of emotions in it, fulfilling such basic tasks of art. The film portrays a fantastically articulated piece of art, presented by the top masters of this type of media. Aronofsky, with lots of style and patience, fantastically portrays the lives of the four actors, who suddenly go down the hill and what makes this film great is exactly the volume of characters. Although they live some lives that the vast majority of the audience will not consider normal or close, they have, just like all of us, some dreams, hopes, expectations, allowing the audience to still make a connection and get into the story.
This film is full of empathy, but also beautiful, almost poetic moments. The “Requiem for a Dream” does not provide any glorification or condemnation of people addicted to drugs, but rather reflects the cruelty and darkness of this world. The Requiem for a Dream movie really represents what is in his name, and it is one of those movies that you wish you had never seen it just so you could to be able to find it again and watch for the first time.