Darren Aronofsky, director of numerous award winning films such as Pi, The Foutain and Black Swan, created a cinematic masterpiece in the year 2000. When asked what the movie represented, Aronofsky replied,
“Ultimately the film is about the lengths people will go to escape their realities, and what happens when you chase after a fantasy.” Anything else? “Mostly, it’s about love. More specifically, it’s about what happens when love goes wrong.”
While reading, “Last Exit to Brooklyn,” he began thinking of a screenplay for a movie that fit that novel, and after discovering Selby’s novel, “Requiem for a Dream” Darren was inspired, and intrigued to find out that Selby had already began writing his own screenplay. As the credits roll in we see that the screenplay was written by both of them.
Now onto the movie
Requiem for a Dream may be an unsettling movie for most, if not everyone. However, when you break the movie down you begin to realize how artfully crafted it is, and certain techniques used to portray the message, Aronofky, aimed to get at. Although I’d like to analyze the movie from a cinematic standpoint, I feel that it’s easier to start with a brief overview of the movie. The following section comprises the first 46:50 in documented notes. I’ve decided to include all the drug use up until this point, because those who watch the movie simply without thinking about the overarching theme may only notice the drug use. I’ve also attached other notes on particular scenes.
First use of drugs is around the 6 min mark Heroin
7:45 thinking about taking the police’s gun (this happens more than once)
Mom and son (heroin addiction versus her pill addiction, we find this out later) This post is slowly becoming a resume…
13:21 I’ve got a great diet book…
Constantly being told what we can and can’t eat, do diets actually work? Most do not…
15:33 Second use of drugs (upper of some sort?)
Split screen shots, puts an equal emphasis on both scenes
Food is a drug? 19:50 in the eyes of the beholder? What I’m trying to get at is that a drug defined as … can mean a number of things
*I believe a drug means anything that has the potential for abuse and gets in the way of your everyday life
20:07 3rd use of drugs coke or speed?
TV can be a drug?
21:50 She went to the doctor, he gave her pills, “So you don’t have to eat”
23:35 4th use of drugs, Marijuana
25:24 5th use of drugs, Heroin
30:00 6th use of drugs Cocaine
31:30 Introduction to drugs: purple morning, blue afternoon, orange evening, and green at night…
32:37 Side effects…
32:47 7th use of drugs Marijuana
35:18 8th use of drugs Heroin? Coke
35:35 9th use of drugs (Very powerful scene)
36:28 10th use of drugs (diet pill)
37:20 11th use of drugs (diet pill)
Im going to stop listing the drugs taken, as you get the idea… this movie is very drug intensive
41:30 diet pills, uppers, discussion on pills, “The green one” he’s the nice doctor, how come you know more about medicine that the doctor (this refers to a scene where the mother questions her son about his knowledge of the dangers of uppers…)
This movie is brutal, at this point I begin thinking about turning it off, before the “real” serious scenes. It just feels too genuine. Some movies can evoke such a strong emotion that it almost becomes unbearable. A true cinematic movie hits this idea spot on.
46:50 we all know this too well
I ended up turning the movie off at this point, and finished the rest of it the following day. I felt that I needed to decompress and prepare myself for what lie ahead.
I comprised notes on the second half of the movie, but have decided not to add them as I feel it would distract the reader or spoil the movie too much. Instead let me just conclude with this:
The movie ends, which is almost a sigh of relief. You’ve just made it through nearly an hour and a half of the most depressing movie. It brought forth your own emotions, as you created an attachment to each character. You may not have an addiction to drugs, but you begin thinking of all the bad surrounding you, how things can fall apart quite easily.
Although, this movie was eye catching, when you break it down it simply becomes a movie about Love and the struggle of addiction.
Watch it if you feel that you can handle it. However, I have a hard time recommending it too anyone, as it includes a number of pretty profane scenes; Intense drug use, sex scenes and an overall feeling of reality (which is hard to explain).
Normally I would rate this movie Groovy or Not Groovy, but I’ll just leave that up to the reader.