A few thoughts on Darren Aronofsky’s harrowing sophomore feature.
“I’m somebody now, Harry. Everybody likes me.”
A haunting descent into abject misery. Requiem For A Dream is methodical in the way it lures you into its cautionary tale. You barely notice it at first, even though you’ve been down this road plenty of times before. Aronofsky baits you with sweeter elements: offbeat humour, young love and drugged-up antics. You start to sympathise with these pitiful lost souls – you become invested in their dreams. Before you know it, you’re hooked. Like a drug, geddit? The quirky quick-cut scene transitions leave you little time to dwell on any unpleasant imagery that typically comes hand-in-hand with substance abuse. It’ll be over soon anyway, it’s all just a means to an end.
And then, the Fall. Like an infection, it quietly takes root early on, before exploding into effect with cataclysmic consequences. The film wraps its claws around you and pulls you into a deep-rooted nightmare. Poor decisions and a pervading sense of despair take centre stage. The light at the end of this tunnel begins to fade, replaced only by anxiety and pain. Clint Mansell’s operatic score intensifies and amplifies the scale of this disaster. Aronofsky’s eye for a murky visual gives way to imagery that feels far more graphic than any horror movie. But what makes it all so harrowing isn’t the violence, or the terror – it’s the sorrowful absence of all that was. The erosion of hope and happiness. The fading memory of a world that once seemed to offer so much promise…