Requiem for a Dream

A compelling, grim and impactful psychological drama that revolves around four lives being impacted by drug use and the deep psychological abyss that drug abuse leads one to.

Cast – Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans

Director – Darren Aronofsky

Plot

Harry (Leto), his friend Tyrone (Wayans) and girlfriend Marion (Connelly) are heroin addicts and indulge in peddling to earn money.

Harry’s mom, Sara Goldfarb (Burstyn), a lonely widow, loves food and chocolates, is a television addict, adores Harry and deeply misses her husband.

Sara’s dull life finds excitement and purpose when she gets an invite from her favourite TV show to appear on it.

Desperate to loose some weight and unable to cope with hunger pangs, she resorts to medication prescribed by a doctor. While the weight goes down, her addiction and delusions go up and before she realises it, she is on a spiralling path to insanity.

Meanwhile, the young trio’s lives are also on a downward path when the drugs supply in the city thins down due to a crack down. As their desperation for the drugs increases, their moral and ethical compass goes haywire leading them to disturbing, depraved and distressing conditions.

Analysis

Darren Aronofsky loves delving into the deepest recesses of the human mind. This is my third film from him and I see that portraying intricacies of psyche is surely his strong fold.

It’s fascinating to see the way he has build up the characters and our connect with them. He gives us a peep into their dreams, desires, weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Even though we see irresponsible addicts, we feel empathy not disgust.

It was heart wrenching to see them falling apart emotionally and psychologically and horrifying to see the dark muck addiction can trap you in.

Sara’s character and its trajectory was the most saddening. To see a lonely, innocent and responsible person falling prey unknowingly was very disturbing.

Performances are superb. Burstyn is brilliant and shines the most.

What’s praiseworthy is the way Aronofsky creates a picture scary enough to repel the viewer about drug abuse but makes sure that the characters come across as victims instead of abusers. You feel compelled to save them from their own self at times.

The film is disturbing and distressing but conveys something very relevant. One cannot have a soft story about something so harsh and ugly.

It rings the warning bell loud and clear, in fact, shrill and jarring.

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