New Movies -
Old Movies -
Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky) 2000
Unfortunately, I think Requiem for a Dream film fails to successfully meld style with substance. I recently watched Godard’s Band of Outsiders in a theatrical re-release, and when I finished that refreshing experience, I realized what it was that irked me so much about Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem. Godard’s film is specifically about an addiction to media causing a disassociation with reality. Requiem for a Dream is about drugs fueling that addiction to a vision of the “better life” that the media uses to tantalize us. Both films are stylistically bold, but since Godard’s is foremost about an addiction specifically to media (i.e. the characters believe real life should live up to the standard of films), and he’s able to imbue his characters with a youthful gusto, his stylistic choices seem integrated into his narrative.
Aronofsky’s excess of style seems intrusive by comparison. He never really is able to make us examine these characters as real people (e.g. he has Ellen Burstyn DEVOUR the scenery). They remain stereotypes (i.e. specters that don’t really exist EXCEPT in the media), and therefore feel that they contribute to the problem of false media expectations more than they help expose it. They are very fictional characters complaining that their lives aren’t fictional enough.
The drug sequences seem to be just more of the media telling us how life is. We’re supposed to get the impression that, due to Aronofsky’s technical brilliance, we’ve seen how it is to be addicted to drugs after this film, but that dishonesty bothers me here… We’ve simply watched a murky, dreadful movie.