Requiem For a Dream
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Marlon Wayans, Jennifer Connelly
Drugs will get you through times of no cash better than cash will get you through times of no drugs. That’s true enough for Harry (Leto) and Tyrone (Wayans) and lucious Marion (Connelly). They’re wannabe drug dealers, trying to leverage a small time addiction into big time dealing and maybe a little clothing shop in SoHo. Ah, the American dream. And Harry’s mom, Sara (Burstyn), has a dream, too. She’s gonna be on an infomercial! How kewl. And if she can just get into that red dress that made her look so good 50 pounds and 5 years ago… why, it’s a reason to live! A nice little regimen of grapefruit, boiled eggs, and speed will melt those pounds and brain cells away fast. As her food intake drops, the fridge is feeling a bit left out of things, and grumbles like an empty stomach. You know how real hallucinations can seem when the blue pills kick in. As summer passes into winter, the sunny outlook of 15 seconds of video fame and a nice steady dealership with health insurance and a 401(k) dims for everyone. The pounds are gone, but the TV man never called back and that carnivorous Kelvinator is getting scary. And the dope scene has dried up, too. You think hockey withdrawal is bad, but that’s nothing compared to this drought. There’s cash, but you sure can’t shoot that junk in your arm. Tyrone and Harry decide they’ll pop down to Miami for a little pick me up, but as true New Yorkers, they have no real concept of where anything across the Hudson lies. Somewhere about North Carolina, Harry’s gangrene (oh, I forgot that bit… it makes AIDS look nice) requires a stop in the ER and a prison farm. Mom’s on shock treatment and Marion’s putting on live sex shows to keep the dope flowing. It’s all better than that fried egg ad.
Cheerful? Check the director. Life affirming? It’s NYC. Gruff but lovable characters? They’re junkies, already. Cool drug effects? Really the only positive point. The credits had a “refrigerator puppeteer,” and I think that mobile icebox was the only real reason you would suffer though this death spiral. The gangrenous arm was about as realistic as you could imagine, and the sheer misery which everyone attains before they let you out is draining. There may be a moral lurking here, and it runs along the line that mommy’s dope and sonny boy’s dope are equally evil. You think you can control the tiger, but it gets you in the end. Well, we heard that in high school. Still, there’s one minor plus: no Robin Williams. But that’s it.