Darren Aronofsky is a cult director and, like himself, three of the seven feature films he has filmed so far fall into this category. This is the first of his career, the insane and complex Pi, faith in chaos (1998), the symphonic Requiem for a dream (2000) and, finally, I wanted and could not The source of life (2006). Later, came the emotion of The fighter (2008), the disturbing psychological drama Black Swan (2010), the biblical and not at all unexpected Noah (2014) and Mother! (2017), her return to the cinema with an overwhelming and conceptually convoluted surrealism.
Two decades after Requiem for a Dream was released, it is not wrong to insist that it is an entire cinematographic experience. Mix social satire, the dream and the hallucinatory as in the pleasant or nightmarish journey of someone who gets up to the ass of narcotics. We are talking about a merciless and authentic tragedy about invincible addictions, life illusions and frustration, far removed in its festive tone Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996), also cult, very dark and thus, perhaps, much more honest. A film that does not suit easily impressionable people with little stomach.
If there is a regular partner of Aronofsky, that is cinematographer Matthew Libatique ( Last call ), who has dealt with his frames up to eight occasions since his short Protozoa (1993). In Requiem for a Dream he had to deal with a very varied, highly elaborate and most satisfactory visual planning . Like the montage of Jay Rabinowitz ( The Tree of Life ), twice under the New Yorker, with a vitality that provides a devilish rhythm and already reveals an author trait for the memory of Pi , and that is especially striking in scenes about drug addiction routines, which are not only based on psychotropic substances, and daily weariness.
Rabinowitz's work oscillates between dialectics and parallelism. In addition, Requiem for a Dream offers us zenith planes, chopped and contrapied, divided vertically and horizontally, superimposed and not a few charming detail. And distortion with fisheye lenses, bodycam , traveling , quite a few scenes in fast motion and occasional slow jumps, faded to white. Clint Mansell ( Stoker ), the fetish composer with whom Aronofsky has worked on six of his seven feature films, composed the fabulous score of Requiem for a dream , impossible to forget and so epic that it was used for the trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The two towers (Peter Jackson, 2002).
Priceless is the moving interpretation of veteran Ellen Burstyn ( Interstellar ) as Sara Goldfarb, whose motivations can remind us at first of the childish bite of Aronofsky's early short films, such as Fortune Cookie (1991) or No Time (1994), and its balance narrative. But they become an amazing descent into hell. Also that of the other leading characters, of course, are the Harry Goldfarb of Jared Leto ( The possible lives of Mr. Nobody ), the Marion Silver of Jennifer Connelly ( A wonderful mind ) or the Tyrone C. Love of Marlon Wayans ( Play Off ).
The four dazzle or fulfill according to each circumstance, and Requiem for a dream would not be what it is without the ostensible talent of these actors, with a very incarnation especially nuanced in the case of Burstyn. Nor without the sound design by Brian Emrich ( Last call ), a fundamental contribution for the film to be truly effective due to the dizzying features of its editing and because, yes, the junkies' auditory hallucinations must seem terrible to us. As much as the overwhelming residue of the film , which has not aged one iota .