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Askew Review 15

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REQUIEM FOR A DREAM- 2000. Drama. Approx 95 minutes. NR, nudity, sex, major drug usage. Welcome to the wonderful world of addiction. After learning that she may be appearing on tv, 50 something year old Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn) goes on a diet so she can fit into her favorite red dress that she hasn’t worn in years. Having major problems with the diet, Sara starts taking prescription diet pills to help her shed some pounds. At the same time, Harry (Jared Leto), Sara’s young 20’s son, is trying to save money so he and his chickie Marion (Jennifer Connelly) can open up a clothing/fashion store. To accomplish this dream, Harry and his buddy Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) sell drugs on the streets on New York City. Of course, this drug selling idea is not such a good thing because Harry, Tyron, and Marion are all drug addicts. Just as the trio start booting there own inventory, Sara becomes flat out addicted to the diet pills to the point of experiencing severe hallucinations. Back to the druggie trio; the clan has injected their entire heroin stash and has exhausted their money, so to get more drugs, Marion starts to have sex with men to satisfy their drug addiction. It’s about at this time that the lives of these four people really starts to get ugly….. 
           This movie troubled me. If you have never seen addiction and what it can do to a life, namely ruin it, watch this flic and you won’t believe your eyes. Seeing the addicted trio screw themselves over drugs was neither a surprise nor shocking because we have all seen movies dealing with this subject before. Some of us may even now a few true-life stories concerning family or friends losing a battle with drugs. Once people start using and selling heroin, things tend to go downhill from there. However, the storyline of Sara becoming addicted to diet pills really bothered me. She starts out as a “normal” Mom, but has her addiction fueled by the dream of being on tv and becoming the popular one with the apartment yentas.  Watching this poor woman self-destruct, and be ignored by her “doctor,” is truly disturbing. Ellen Burstyn has been nominated for an Oscar for her role as Sara, and deservingly so. Watching her wither away into self-destruction is heart wrenching. Along with being impressed with Ellen Burstyn, I was equally impressed with the rest of the main cast, notably Jennifer Connelly. In past roles, Connelly basically skated by on her great looks rather than her talent, but not here. She is simply remarkable and deserves attention for this role. Besides, I have loved her for a long ass time. On a less serious note, there is a scene where she is looking into a mirror bottomless, but wearing a bra. God that’s hot! I love seeing women, especially ones I find most attractive, like that! Ok, back to business; Marlon Wayans does a good job with this dramatic role and Jared Leto amazingly pulls off this great junkie character. Director Darren Aronofsky (Pi) uses his trademark “camera in the face” shooting to beautifully depict each character’s descent into self-destruction. Along with the direction, the musical score also drives this film home. Requiem for a Dream is adapted from Hubert Selby Jr.’s novel of the same name. Troubling, hard hitting, and scary are just a few ways to describe this movie. – Denis Sheehan

 

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