MV5BMzM2OTYwMTY4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjU1Njg3OA@@._V1_SX214_What’s it all about?

So IMDb tells it like this:

The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island individuals are shattered when their addictions become stronger.

Which is true, but doesn’t really tell us that much about Requiem, but more of that anon.

Why did I want to see it?

That is a good question. I think it’s nothing to do with the subject matter (though as somebody recently diagnosed with a couple of conditions that require me to take medication twice a day every day for the first time in my whole life ever the subject of drugs is kind of at the forefront of my thinking) but more to do with a late interest in the director, Darren Aronofsky, following two good experiences with Black Swan and The Fountain and a desire to see a bit more of his work. And this was the one that came most easily to hand.

What did I think of it?

Well. I watched this on a Sunday afternoon, not traditional Sunday afternoon fare you might think and you would be right. I went back to my Facebook page as I remembered posting something about my initial reaction which was:

Just watched Requiem for a Dream for the very first time. Am typing this while curled up in foetal position on the sofa. Grim. Remarkable, but grim.

And that still holds true after a couple of weeks of mulling it over (and images from the film have popped up in my head quite often in the intervening period). The film really is astonishing. I didn’t think I was going to like any of the characters at all but as the film develops I really came to feel  anxious for all of them as they struggle with their addictions and the things that they are driven to do, especially the two women. The degradation that Jennifer Connolly’s character is driven to is just soul-destroyingly awful (though in some respects she seems the happiest of the four at the film’s conclusion). The character I identified most with was Ellen Burstyn’s, slowly falling into an addiction without realising that’s what’s happening (and a question as to whether she ever really recognises it) as she takes prescription drugs to help her lose weight. Marlon Wayans is excellent but the revelation for me is Jared Leto whom I’ve been aware of for a while but not actually ever seen any of his performances, and he was absolutely superb. I can see why he is being considered as an Oscar contender for his most recent film.

My quibble with the description of the film on IMDb is that I don’t think utopia is really the right word for what they all experience on their various highs; maybe I’m picky but I think of utopia as a constant and for all of them the downs are always there, and deeper every time.

So, a real experience, not a film I think you can ever say that you enjoyed but as a window into the word of addiction quite an eye opener. Now I need to get a hold of Pi…..