Requiem for a Dream is in my top 5 favorite films of all time. I know it may not be the happiest of films but the story really got to me. Not to mention, the genius filmaking from director Darren Aronofsky. Debuting in 2000, the film captures the true essence of addiction and how it can destroy your life. I must admit there are scenes that are hard to watch but the thrilling anxiety and sadness one feels from watching each character fall apart just makes you want to see what is next. Sad but true.
The film takes place in Coney Island and focuses on four characters, Sara and her son Harry, Harry’s girlfriend Marion, and their friend Tyrone. Each of them have a dream but their personal additions and obsessiveness gets in the way and takes them down the wrong path. From drugs and prostitution to weight loss and shock therapy, the story unfolds as each character falls deeper into the hole they created, taking you on a ride of misery and beauty all at once.
Written by Aronofsky and Hubert Selby Jr., and based off of Selby’s original book, this film will take you on a ride filled with emotion and discomfort. The cinematic artistry with its various split screens, in your face close ups, and time lapse photography, helps to bring the viewer in on a personal level. You feel like you know the characters and even though your heart goes out to them, your ability to empathize slowly fades. Eventually, everything falls apart in the end.
With an amazing and talented cast, Requiem will surely throw you for a loop. The soundtrack by Clint Mansell is beautiful and haunting, one the best I have heard. The color palette is a combination of natural hues taken from the three seasons shown in the film, summer, fall, and winter, while darker, more deep tones exhibit the intense scenes. Darkness and light come into play a great deal as shadows embark each character throughout the film. This is surely a piece of work that will stand the test of time.