Superficial Overview of “Requiem for a Dream” Part I

21 Apr

The movie is an aesthetic and unflinching look at addiction.  As an avid viewer of “Intervention” I thought I would be desensitized my the material in the film–not so.  Though the word “heroin” is never explicitly mentioned, the implicit consequences of its use is pervasive in the film.  The artistic cutting of the scenes with help from the tasteful instrumental soundtrack lends a dramatic and edgy truth to the four characters portrayed.  The syncopation of both the jerky scenes, illusions of being right opn the action, and irregular melodies of the music focuses the viewer’s perceptions right on the drugs.  Instead of preaching about the deleterious effects of drugs the film leaves this message unuttered.  The tacit “drugs are bad” message is effective because of just that fact–it is implied and evident.

A brief (and superficial) overview of main characters:

The son steals his mother’s beloved television (repeatedly) to pawn for drug money.  The primary motivation is satisfying his constant (selfish) craving for drugs.  His only true long-term aspiration seems to be making a big score to get a lot of money.  He engages in a plot to get more drugs, the machinations to buy his lonely mother a TV, and a vague scheme to become close to his girlfriend.

The mother is lonely despite being shown sunbathing in front of the apartment building with the close-knit community of other aging gals.  She constantly watches a motivational infomercial on TV and wishes to get on TV.  Her main plan is to fit into a red dress–but she must lose weight to achieve this end.  She finds a doctor to prescribe diet pills after a chance mention of a friend who lost weight this way when she was sidewalk sunbathing.

Like our main character, the best friend is a wholly devoted sybarite–interested mostly in the next fix.  He regularly reminisces about his own mother’s love, while getting more and more invloved in the business of the drug underworld.  He is caught up in the drama on the streets and ends up in jail temporarily.

The girlfriend’s parents have masses of money, yet she langors into addiction with the rest instead of whole-heartdly pursuing her garment business.  It seems she is seeking out some mercurial entertainment in her relationship with the main character–and with drugs.  Her capricious behavior quickly pushes her towards using her sexuality to garner drugs.

These four are a phalanx of desperation at the end of the movie.  The last scene is one of the most powerful in all of film–the director is obviously an expert.  Being somewhat of a connoisseur of addiction media, devouring television, documentary, and blockbuster films as well as real life news articles, I was still left just sick to my stomach from this film.  It is one of my favorite movies, yet it just makes me feel (for lack of better word) icky after I’ve taken it in.

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