…and the quest to see everything

Requiem for a Dream

(ph. secret)

My first encounter with this movie was in my college years. I thought it unwatchable, seeing all those slouchy junkies dancing and reveling in intoxication, wanting neither pause nor redemption. It’s something, at that time, that touched a dark, personal part of me from which I wanted to distance myself, so I had to change the channel. But this is the kind of movie you get if you wanted realism, and there’s a demand for that.

The time that I finally saw this movie was a televised edited version, and no, I didn’t get to see more of Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) naked with his girlfriend. Nor did I see what Marion (Jennifer Connelly) did with that dildo, and though I have the full version with me I don’t plan on seeing that scene.

And that relentless soundtrack. I’m pretty sure there’s only one or two-minute intervals of dialogue or silence between pieces of powerful music. Ironically enough, I’m sure that a track called ‘Marion Barfs’ (under other names in the soundtrack) is now being used to promote televised sporting events.

I do find the rapid cuts and extreme close-ups and split screens gratuitous in other examples. It almost was here. The shots of eyeballs and syringes bored you until another season/act comes and we find the characters deeper into a more interesting section of the rabbit hole. Also, my pet peeve that there are windows with no views here too, noting that this is still cheaper, independent film making despite of its achievements in other areas. But the characters and tragedy, reaching their inevitable ends, are effective enough to overshadow the flaws.

I cheated on a Sidney Lumet double bill to watch this. Had I seen this in its entirety a few years ago, I would have dismissed it as a jewel of turn of the twenty-first century film making like “American History X.” And “Requiem” is still that – I never thought to call a movie made ten years ago would be slightly dated. Last Saturday I was ready, and in doing so I treat it neither with love nor hate but respect.


I’ve always seen movies where Jennifer Connelly was the damsel in quasi-distress (“Little Children,”). I know that there are movies where she plays the unconventional reincarnation of the femme fatale (“House of Sand and Fog”). In this movie she refreshingly plays both. There’s also Nick’s argument that Jennifer Connelly did subtler and thus better work than the Oscar nominated Ellen Burstyn, which I respect and kinda agree with. Nonetheless, Darren Aronofsky works his players like athletes.

This movie is the middle ground between Aronofsky’s grit and trashy (“The Wrestler”) and the fantasy (“The Fountain”). So far, it’s the movie that best embodies what the rest of his work is like, although his best is yet to come.

This movie can also arguably be the gateway to the boyish Kubrickian surrealism that embodies the movies of the past decade (Mexican New Wave etc.). But then “Memento” apparently came out three weeks before this movie. Apples and oranges. I haven’t seen “Memento” in so long so I can’t choose which one’s my favourite.

Lastly, cannot wait for Black Swan.

4 responses

  1. Connelly was phenomenal, I can’t believe she won an Oscar just a year after that for that piece of crap she made.

    October 7, 2010 at 12:47 am

  2. I used to know a guy who hated A Beautiful Mind, a movie that won best picture even if I could name five movies that year that should have gotten that gold. I’m kinda cuirous to see it now.

    And I hope I see her work in What’s Wrong with Virginia.

    October 7, 2010 at 4:43 am

  3. Bunnies

    This movie isn’t bad. For those who are faint hearted, they shouldn’t watch the movie. The movie is so close to life, and it sets of in the mind of a person, that life is real, and just trying to escape it, will only make it come to you faster. I understand that the heavily detailed scenes were…vivid and a bit much, but it added to the movie. It made you want to watch more. Where the persons mind was going, how they would survive the whole epidemic of their addictions, their fears, and their problems. Four failures, and all with some sort of ambition or dream, that they never reached, because of how they chose to take their paths. There is nothing wrong with this movie, This movie was great, but everyone has their own opinions, I guess. I know its quite a bit late to answer. But I’m doing a English project on this, and i was looking around for other peoples incite on the movie/book.

    May 25, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    • Yeah, it has been a long time since I’ve written this. I still feel that the film doesn’t allow a glimmer of hope for these characters, which isn’t close to life at all. But I do agree now on the heavily detailed scenes, that they add to the expression of the character’s interior mindset.

      May 26, 2011 at 1:03 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s