Requiem for a Dream starts out like a designer jeans commercial shot by Michaelangelo Antonioni: heroin chic evoked through gorgeous camera work and performed by Beautiful People.
Indeed, thirty minutes into Darren Aronofsky’s acclaimed sophomore effort, the only two things you know are that Aronofsky is a genius in the editing room and that maybe smack isn’t so bad after all.
But then the film pulls out the rug from under you. Jared Leto and Marlon Wayans play Brighton Beach friends who slowly get sucked down into a heroin spiral along with Leto’s girlfriend, played by Jennifer Connelly. What was hip turns to horror as the film morphs midway into a postmodern haunted house of a drug film.
Addiction, infection, despair, chemical bliss; Requiem for a Dream (get the Director’s Cut) depicts all of the elements of junkie life in a white heat of unforgettable images, and does so more realistically than anything in the genre since Pacino’s Needle Park. Ellen Burstyn plays Leto’s pill popping mother in a spellbinding performance that should win her an Oscar. The film is rumored to have more cuts than any other in history – over 2,000 – but doesn’t feel like it, and the editing wizardry only assists this already powerful film.
Thinky says: Unforgettable on many levels.