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  • Gareth Crook

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

I have a bit of a hot and cold thing with Aronofsky. Pi remains one of my favourite films if not my favourite of all time, but then he’s made plenty of rubbish too (The Fountain, Noah). Despite the acclaim that Requiem for a Dream gets, I always put it on the cold list, it quite literally left me cold. I thought it was time I gave it another chance though, maybe I’d just caught it at a bad time, perhaps I’d been unfair to it all these years. Mansell’s score right away is something to enjoy, it’s rich, immersive, ever present and it’s superb. Picking right up from where he left Pi. The style that Pi had though is lost a little, but it does have something about it. Simple neatly composed shots, it flows like it’s been storyboarded meticulously. The camera kept tight, often abstract. All that. I like. The jump cuts and split screens, spinning overhead shots get tiresome though, it’s relentless. BUT that I think is the point, it’s a war of attrition, beating the viewer down as the world of all the characters falls apart. There are several shared actors with Pi, in fact I think the entire cast is present, but here the characters portrayed, I simply didn’t care about. It’s heartless and distressing, packed with (now dated) 90s visual effects, fisheye lenses, speed ramping, audio distortions. If Lynch were in charge it may have worked, but where Lynch carefully crafts this stuff, Aronsofsky goes for the full kitchen sink. Ultimately it’s just bleak without the artistry. A damning portrayal. Of drugs. Of society. Of America. Of celebrity. Of television. Of addiction to what people think they need in life. Slaves looking for the high, looking to be accepted. It is utterly depressing and for all its positives, that’s the reason I don’t like it. That all said I don’t think I hate it as much as I once did and so for that it gets...



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