Tagline: From the director of [Pi].
Synopsis: Set in the dark and disturbed streets and alley-ways of Brooklyn, this is a story about the inter-connected lives of four average people in pursuit of fame, happiness and redemption. Sara Goldfarb, a lonely widow obsessed with stardom and perfection, her misguided son Harry, his girlfriend Marion, and his friend Tyrone ride the addled highs and lows of drug addiction before disastrous consequences force them to confront their worst fears.
Meat & Potatoes: A dark, dark, dark journey of unrelenting emotional devastation that leaves you exhausted on the other side but better for having endured what I think is Darren Aronofsky’s best film. The tagline is terrible, I must admit but in an industry where you’re only really as good as your last film, eh. After making a film like this you spend the rest of your life realizing you’ll never make another one anything like it – and shouldn’t.
Based on the book by Hubert Selby Jr., with a screenplay by Selby and Darren Aronofsky and directed by Darren Aronofsky, the four main characters of the story were perfectly cast. I often overlook this area of the filmmaking process but can’t write enough how critical casting is. Probably my favorite casting director would be Avy Kaufman ( her films like The Basketball Diaries, Home for the Holidays, Walking & Talking, The Ice Storm, Critical Care, etc., etc.) who is one of the top in the game – and she should be with well over a hundred films as casting director and numerous more as part of a department. Ellen Burstyn as Sara Goldfarb is quite amazing – you’ll recall her as Barbara Bush in Oliver Stone’s biopic ‘W’ or Hy Dodd in How to make an American Quilt among many many other wonderful performances on the small screen as well. Jared Leto shines as misguided Harry (who’ll you remember as Angel Face in David Fincher’s Fight Club, no doubt – recall his brilliance in the Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman vehicle Se7en (1995) with Kevin Spacey as the creepy serial killer John Doe). Leto carries the film every bit as much as keeps the tangled highs and lows from coming undone all together. He reminds me of my previous thoughts regarding Collin Farrell in that he is such a fine actor I wish he was working more or in place of others who for some reason get more screen time with less talent. Jennifer Connelly is by far my favorite character in this story. She at once embodies na·ïve·té, innocence behind those eyes, but equally there is always something else, more sinister, damaged if you will boiling below the surface. Her work as Kathy in House of Sand and Fog with Ben Kingsley was remarkable for the very reasons she stood out in this film. If you haven’t see the aforementioned, please do. I also must comment on her bravery and deep down truthfulness in the darkest lows of this story and am reminded of the challenges and rewards I have experienced working with talented actors during difficult scenes. Marlon Wayans as Tyrone C. Love is by far his best work, though admittedly his work on the small screen in The Wayans Bros (over a hundred episodes) and the Scary Movie franchise probably stand out most to the average viewer. His performance here was endearing as he descended into the depths of drug addiction, losing both his dignity and a burgeoning life with his girlfriend – he made me feel his characters loss and addiction.
Aside from a solid script containing deft, believable dialogue and a skewed take on the love story – the mechanics of the way in which the film was shot is wonderfully explored in the featurette on the DVD. For film buffs and enthusiasts alike, you’ll get to see how some of the interesting visuals for the film were achieved and a rare look at the directors craft. The director of photography, Matthew Libatique can more recently be found bringing the visual style of the Iron Man franchise to life.
Other Bits & Bytes: A new addition to my reviews that I’ll try to add here – other areas of interest for the die-hard fans out there. If you get a chance, please check out the website (for as long as it will remain ‘on-line’ here). Another innovating site designed around the Tappy Tibbons character in the actual film, the weight-loss television personality. It’s a kick. And don’t forget to check out this YouTube clip I found -> Tappy 1900-976-JUICE<-
Requiem for a Dream (2000) Trailer
Buy Requiem for a Dream at Amazon.com
The Closer: Requiem for a Dream is the kind of dark hay ride you are compelled to take even when others warn you not to. Watch it, then later after you regain your sense of normalcy again, watch it again.