Requiem For a Dream (2000)

REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, the first "real budget" film from acclaimed PI 
director Darren Aronofsky, is a visually oh-my-God, ultra-intense,
and wickedly comic drug-addiction drama that's also gotta be the
most graphic (think NC-17 worthy) depiction of substance abuse ever.  
Pills... prostitution... puncture wounds... it's all here and more, 
baby!  (Viewers sensitive to extreme medical procedures should just
say no.  Or at least be prepared to leave early.)  The increasingly 
grim (if initially side-splitting) story follows four Atlantic City
dreamers:  a pair of young male junkies (Jared Leto and Marlon Way-
ans) hoping to score "one big score," the girlfriend and fellow user
(Jennifer Connelly, stunningly sexy) who wants open her own clothing 
boutique, and the reclusive, TV-tied mother (Ellen Burstyn) who de-
velops dieting problems after receiving a shady invitation to shady
talk show.  Things go wrong, of course, both for her and the others.
Terribly wrong.  Horribly wrong.  Terribly, horribly, *graphically*
wrong.  (Broadcasters!  Forget public-service announcements!  Just
air excerpts of this movie!)

So why be willing handed such a seeming big bag of downers?  For the
visuals; the amazing, astounding, breathtaking, way, way, way, way-
cool visuals.  Split screens.  Still shots worth framing.  Stunning,
split-second "injection montages."  (Tourniquet, needle, blood cells, 
pupil, etc.)  You can't turn your eyes away... well, unless you get
bored.  However compelling the photographic effects, be they distort-
ed angles or time-lapse stuff, the images become a bit monotonously 
repetitive.  Don't know if it's a problem with pacing or story or
drama or characters, but there's a noticeable lag in the middle of
the movie.  Mercifully, "things" get good again at the end, as the 
story starts its downward spiral that culminates in a frenzied, four-
way cross-cutting of raw degradation-- a sequence so unabashedly 
graphic that you're as likely to cackle at the daring display as to 
be revolted by the explicit images.  Explicit *and* unforgettable. 
I mean, *I* still haven't shaken a couple of those porno shots...
See it with the entire family.  With Christopher McDonald, Louise 
Lasser, and Keith David.  From the novel by Hubert Selby Jr.  (Rat-
ed "R"/102 min.)  

Grade: B+

Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros