Requiem For A Dream follows the lives of several people who live in Brooklyn as their lives proceed into a darkness caused by drug addiction. One of the several main character at play here are Sara Goldfarb (Played by Ellen Burnstyn), a sad old woman who seeks attention and love to fill her empty life. The way that Sara plans on gaining this attention is through appearing as a contestant on television and looking good in her red dress that she wore back in the day. The bad side of this subplot is when she can’t keep her diet and decides to try out diet pills, also know as uppers.
The other three characters revolve around Sara’s son, Harry, who is looking for success in the drug trade. He finds this success with his girlfriend, Marion, and his friend Tyrone. The three of them partake in a concoction of illegal drugs which ultimately leads to their troubles. That’s all I’m going to say about the plot so I don’t ruin anything for you.
The true highlight of this film comes in two forms: the excellent performances given by the entire cast, and the masterful editing techniques that Arronofsky utilizes here to show the use of drugs. There are other truly great moments of editing when they switch between the different characters story lines. One of the key examples of this is the final act of the film which is, without a doubt, one of the greatest pieces of cinema that I have ever seen.
As for the acting although all of the performances are extraordinary, the true standout is Ellen Burnstyn who delivers one of the greatest performances of all time. Some may say that saying such a thing is ridiculous, but I truly believe that her performance is perfection. Then comes Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans. There is nothing else that I can say other than the fact that all of the characters in the film take true talent to pull off believably, and these actors pull it off flawlessly.
Finally I want to touch on the writing and directing in the film. The dialogue is so brilliant in that they fit the characters and the situation within the film perfectly. In case you couldn’t guess, drug addicts don’t usually use proper grammar and I am so glad that this film reflects that. There is nothing that’s out of place here and it all filters into having the film feel real and gritty like it backdrop. Then, of course, there is the direction of the brilliant auteur Darren Aronofsky. He knows how to use camerawork to grab your attention and keep it. Whether that consists of showing an event from a certain characters perspective or using the style of cinematography to reflect emotion. It is all purposeful and adds to the overall quality of the film.
In conclusion, this film is the greatest anti-drug film that didn’t feel at all like an anti-drug film. It will shock and terrify you. It will leave you wondering what you just saw and how that will change the way you look at life, love, emotions, and drugs. But you know the thing it won’t do? Bore you, leave you wanting more, or leave you feeling the same as the way that did prior to watching it.
This film is a masterpiece.