"Thus open the gates of paradise."

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Requiem For A Dream

06 Apr 2002

I've had out of the cinemas for about a month with a terrible bout of absence, but returned in time to catch Darren Aronofsky's new film, "Requiem For A Dream", based on Hubert Selby's novel Last Exit To Brooklyn. What a way to get back in.

I saw Aronofsky's previous film "p" ("Pi") a few years ago, and it just blew me away. Packed full of ideas, stylishly made, go go go right from the first frame. It was on the strength of that, and on the recommendation of a local cineast that I went.

The film is about Harry and his pal Tyrone who deal some drugs in the hopes of getting rich, quick. Harry's girlfriend Marion is all for it, if it will help her open a clothing store and be free of her parents. Harry's doting mother Sara doesn't know anything about it, but she sees that her son is happy doing whatever it is he says he's doing, and that's good enough. She is preoccupied with a chance to be on television -- in an infomercial for "Juice" a self-help program which advocates taking control of your life by eliminating refined sugar from your diet (among other things). It's not long before Sara is on amphetamines to lose weight so she can fit into a cherished dress for her television appearance. Harry, Marion, and Tyrone are already drug users, and before you know it, the story begins its long slow slide downwards.

"Trainspotting" this is not. While that film was a giddy rollercoaster ride, this film is more like a cold slap on the face, though it's so stylishly done, it's impossible not to watch. Or listen to. The music, performed in part by the Chronos Quartet, is absolutely right for the film. You just need to hear a few notes to be drawn back into your own memories of sitting in the theatre, watching the film.

Related Sites

Requiem For A Dream (Official Site, rather nice indeed)
Requiem For A Dream (IMDB)