An in-depth look at the effects of drugs through the experiences of four Coney Island residents.the lives of four different people living in Brooklyn are followed in their search for satisfaction. Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn) craves to be on television in a red dress that is a little tight, so she goes on a diet assisted by pills. her son, Harry (Jared Leto), his girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly), and his best friend Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) hope to move up in the world by buying heroin in bulk and selling it on, as opposed to pushing nickel bags. For a while, things are going well; Harry can buy his mother a new TV, she is losing weight and gaining status among her new friends, Tyrone’s got himself a cool new girlfriend and the team has money in a shoebox. But then things start to go downhill… fast. As the addictions run deeper, the hopes of their blossoming dreams fall into a helpless state of moral and physical decay.
A film to watch for anyone who considers themselves to be fairly serious about film is Requiem For A Dream. At least, it is deemed to be one of those films that is a must-see. I wasn’t too gone on it myself, but it did have some very interesting points to make about drug addiction and the effects it can have.
I think Jared Leto is a superb actor, and one who, until quite recently, has gone largely unnoticed. As Harry Goldfarb here, he showed us yet again how good he is at bringing modern issues to the big screen and getting audiences to take notice, even way back when this was made in 2000. He delivered quite a harrowing performance as the drug-addled young man who very quickly reached the point where he was only doing drugs to stay well instead of trying to get high off them. There was a real edge to his character that conveyed how desperate his situation had become – something that I’m fairly certain hit hard for many people.
Playing Harry’s mother was Ellen Burstyn, who I think was utilised as a way of showing that drug addiction can affect anyone of any age. Whilst I thought her performance was good, I did find her babbling a bit tiresome at points, however that didn’t detract too much away from the overall experience of her character.
No, I said at the beginning that I wasn’t the biggest fan of this film, but I couldn’t really place a finger on why it was I didn’t like it. One thing I could tell you for certain though is that I was left deeply disturbed by what I had seen. I made the mistake of watching The Exorcist in the day and this at night, thinking the former would be the one to make the lasting impression. How wrong was I? Requiem For A Dream started off harmless and with very little actually going on, but finished with a solid twenty minutes that must quite easily be one of the most intense movie endings there has ever been. If you take nothing else away from it, at least you’ll never want to touch drugs in your life after seeing this film.
Requiem For A Dream is most definitely an acquired taste that will not be for everyone. It’s not a film that I personally will be watching again as the only bit that had any lasting effect was the final montage of suffering at the end. However, I should thank it for warning me off ever so much as even thinking about doing drugs, so there is a bit of a silver lining I guess.