With Requiem for a Dream director Darren Aronofsky proved to be one of the greatest directors of our times and also one with a unique voice. There has not been a film like this ever in the history of filmmaking. The impact which this film had to me and still has is something quite hard to describe. Here is film that succeeds in being inventive, heartbreaking, dark, authentic and even cautionary.
There has been made films earlier which deal with drug use but too often those films are far away from the reality and even romanticize drugs overall. I am not saying that Aronofsky is trying to teach a lesson here but he certainly does not romanticize the downward spirall that these people live in. Requiem for a Dream is a story about lives and hopes that get shattered. It is a story about grim reality that somethimes hits you in the face. It is not here to say us that drugs are bad, it just shows us the consequences that these people will have to pay for their decisions and just because they are reaching out for their dreams.
Hope of better tomorrow can be seen in Hubert Selby Jr's source material but this is also one of the most disturbing journeys into a hell on earth. Aronofsky has split his film into a three segments; summer, fall and winter. Each of these segments brings main characters of the story more closer to their destiny and that destiny is not a pretty sight to watch. Believe me when i say that this film will leave you wounded. It is an assault to your senses and it shows no mercy with it's approach.
It is fascinating how Aronosky uses different techniques here. He certainly does not shy away from experimenting as a filmmaker. With his cinematographer Matthew Libatique and composer Clint Mansell he has created an oddly intense piece of art that has moments of pure horror and tender moments with heartbreaking quality. This film was and still is ahead of it's time.
Screenplay by Aronofsky and Hubert Selby Jr. centers on a life of four different main characters. Two of them are young men who are also friends and two of them are women, another young woman and another caring and lonely mother. All of these people are linked together and so are their lives and in the end their fate also. The way Selby and Aronofsky paces the story is masterful piece of work. Each segment of the film has different kind of pace and little by little the film accelerates it's rhytm until in the final third it gets into the maximum speed. There has rarely been a film with a final third this hard to sit through. Aronofsky is not using any cheap shocks here he just keeps his camera pointing firmly there where it should be pointing and shows us the ugliness of it all. When the film reaches it's climax you will feel emotionally like a wreck. There are images that will follow you into your nightmares and scenes that will haunt you for weeks, maybe even for years.
None of this would be as effective as it is without the great actors which this film has. Ellen Burstyn, Jennifer Connelly, Jare Leto and Marlon Wayans all give exceptional performances here. Their dedication to the material is something you won't see happening that often in films. Each and everyone of them strip them selves to the bone emotionally. It is all more disturbing to watch because of the dedication of these great actors.
Overall since this film was released back in 2000 i have found it as a one of the most effective film experiences ever made. It is also one of the greatest film experience i have had in my whole life. Not many films in my life has had the same kind of effect to me like Requiem of a Dream has. This film might be tough one to sit through but for me it is an extremely important and personal film. Requiem for a Dream is Darren Aronofsky's masterpiece and a modern classic.