Volume 95, Issue 7

Wednesday, September 12, 2001
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Spoke's resident folkie

Old story dies quick on screen

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Outside the box

O-Week Snapshots

Outside the box

By Molly Duignan
Gazette Staff

Requiem for A Dream
Directed by:
Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Ellen Burstyn

There's no way to make yourself feel better than to watch the deterioration of other people's lives. But feeling the deterioration is different. Requiem For A Dream is 2000s best kept secret.

Requiem is the follow-up to Aronofsky's brilliant directional debut, PI. Adapted from Hubert Selby's 1968 novel of the same name, Requiem pushes the limits of a viewer's stomach and their psychological boundaries. The frenetic and disturbing style of the film and acting could be grouped with classics like A Clockwork Orange and Trainspotting.

Aronofsky follows the daily life of four characters, whose addictions and personal demons stand in the way of their pursuit of "The American Dream." Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto) and his girlfriend Marion Silver (Jennifer Connelly) aspire to own a business and be independent, but are hindered by desperate heroin addictions.

Harry's mother Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn) desires nothing more than to be on television, but she is addicted to game shows and diet pills.

Marlon Wayans plays a surprisingly good hustler named Tyrone, whose honest intentions, fueled by dishonest income, get him nowhere in life. The intertwined lives of these four characters are filled with a despair one cannot help but sympathize with.

The cinematography and soundtrack complement the slow wind and quick unwinding of life. The undulation of film speeds makes for a visually captivating experience. For some, however, the graphic honesty in Requiem may be awfully hard to swallow.

Despite strong performances from all actors, Ellen Burstyn steals the show. Her desolate and depressing portrayal of a lonely widow whose obsession with television is her fatal flaw. The roller coaster of emotions she experiences draws sympathy from any audience.

Requiem builds steadily to the climatic ending, where each person collides face to face with their worst nightmares. This unflinching dissection of addiction in America and the drive of commercial society to promote these addictions is fascinating.

Requiem For A Dream will make you think and keep you thinking for a long time afterwards.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001