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  • Gareth Crook

Requiem for a Dream (2000) - 6/10

The first time I watched Requiem for a Dream I hated it. I tried years later and still hated it. I thought it might now be time to give it a third and final go. If nothing else I can explain why I hate it. It doesn’t help that I don’t like Jared Leto. Here he’s a low life druggy called Harry. In fact almost everyone is. Even his mum (Ellen Burstyn) whose TV he borrows with his mate Tyrone (Marlon Waynes) in the opening scene to pawn for his next hit. No one is likeable. Not a problem in itself, but again it puts up another wall. It’s slick, fast 90s style cuts, split screens, that weird Snorricam. Undeniable it’s got style. Clint Mansell’s near ever present score is once again amazing. In fact I could watch this with my eyes closed and probably enjoy it more. It’s a heady assault on the senses and damning of America’s addiction culture. Parasite that Harry is. It’s his mum Sara and girlfriend Marion’s (Jennifer Connelly) stories that are the most unsettling. Marion seems like she’s got choices. She’s just making the wrong ones. Namely hanging around with Harry, who’s goal seems to be solely to be a dealer, which he thinks will put him on easy street. Sara is on a dodgy path too. Hanging on to the promise of appearing on TV, she’s starving herself to fit into her favourite red dress. When that doesn’t go well, she turns to pills. She’s needs this. Needs purpose. This is her hope. Burstyn is the best thing in this, by a long way. In a pivotal scene when she explains her situation to Harry, it’s raw, visceral, captivating. There may be hope for me this time. As dark as the opening hour is, I can’t deny it’s engaging. You can feel the desires of the characters. How dependent they are and how close they’re teetering to the edge. Hallucinations, scabby arms, skin glistening with sweat, fisheye lenses and speed ramped footage. Desperation increasing and trust evaporating. The decent is rapid. What really made me hate this was Harry pushing Marion. Don’t get me wrong she’s no saint, but it’s still a difficult watch. Those Mansall strings are back, stabbing as everyone descends into a collective nightmare. I’m glad I came back. I don’t like it, I don’t think it’s a film to like really. I don’t hate it though and it is an interesting portrayal of the mind falling apart and Burstyn really is phenomenal. After what is still a horrifying finale though, I need a shower!… and I’m gonna check the fridge is bolted down.


*This is the second time I’ve written a review of this. Having forgot I rewatched this in 2019. Something I clearly blocked out of my mind, which probably says everything you need to know.


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