A glimpse into the lives of four addicts in New
York City as their addictions spiral out of control.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Written by Hubert Selby Jr. and Darren Aronofsky
Starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly,
Marlon Wayans, Christopher McDonald, Keith David
Based on the novel by Hubert Selby Jr.
Oscar Nominations - Best Actress (Ellen Burstyn)
In many ways, I don't think I'll ever understand the pain, fear, confusion, and fleeting euphoria that an addict goes through at every moment. The closest I think I ever will come to experiencing this feeling is watching Requiem for a Dream. Never has there been a scarier, more realistic and haunting depiction of how addiction shatters your very identity. It's Darren Aronofsky's masterpiece and a truly mesmerizing and disturbing tour de force. Not only did it finally get me to respect Jared Leto as an actor, but it changed my perception of the power and allure of addiction.
The performances of all four principle actors are unmatched in anything they've done prior or since. Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans all disappeared into such damaged characters that still retained the spark of goodness that makes the audience weep at the horrifying ends to all of their stories. Ellen Burstyn in particular had me nearing tears, mostly because her condition was the most avoidable and her outcome the most tragic. Aiding their performances was Clint Mansell's now iconic score which really hammers home the need to cry.
It took me far too long to sit down and watch Requiem for a Dream and now that I have, I can't believe this masterpiece had eluded me for so long. It's a hard film to watch and it isn't for the faint of heart. Requiem for a Dream teaches you more about addiction than any anti-drug P.S.A. ever could. The film shows you a glimpse into the lives of people who choose to sign themselves away to a demon that never leaves your body or your mind. It haunts you forever, rotting your heart, your soul, your potential, until all that's left is a husk that only cares about the next fix.