Thursday, August 17, 2006


Movie of the week.

There has never been a more emotion-provoking, heart-rendering, gut-wrenching movie than REQUIEM FOR A DREAM.

The internet movie database (imdb) lists the genre of this movie as "Crime, Drama, Horror". That sounds about right. This film follows the lives of four totally likeable people, as they lose their battles with drug addiction. I suppose that's the crime part. It's actually rather upbeat through the first half of the movie as you get to know and like the characters. In the second half things really start to go downhill for our heroes. I suppose that's the drama part. The horror part has to do with how far into the depths they sink and you sadly realize that there's nothing anybody can do about it.

I'm talking really really deep.

And it was so easy. That's the scary part.

Although it is reasonably upbeat at first, we know that drugs are a problem right from the start. In the opening sequence, Jarad Leto is wheeling a cart with a TV down the street. It's his mother's TV. He's stolen it and is heading for the pawn shop to sell it. It'll be in his arm before she finds out. It's OK, she won't mind too much, he's done it before - lots of times. Later, she'll just go down and buy it back and everything will be fine. Why doesn't he just ask her for the money? He's ashamed. He doesn't want her to directly support his drug habit. That's the kind of logic addicts use.

This has often been referred to as an "anti-drug" movie. I can see that. If you ever, even in passing, thought about taking drugs, watch this movie. If you want to shock your teenage kids into staying away from drugs, watch this movie with them. And it's not just the obvious drugs (three of the characters are hooked on heroin), one of the characters (the mother), gets addicted to diet pills.

This film made it to the imdb top 250 movies of all time. It comes in at #54, between The Bridge on the River Kwai and Fritz Lang's thriller M.

This is not an easy film to watch, definitely not for the squeamish, but it is unforgettable. It's the type of movie for which there's no middle ground. You'll either love it or you'll hate it (I'm betting most of you will hate it). Either way, it's a must see. Why? I'll tell you.

  1. It has a terrific cast: Ellen Burstyn plays the mother. Her best role in years.
  2. Jared Leto is the main character. He appeared in People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" [1997]. Do whatever you want with that information.
  3. Jennifer Connelly. Sheeesh. When is she going to make a comedy? Not here! ... but she does take her clothes off. Kudos.
  4. Marlon Wayans is so good here that you don't even know it's him.
  5. The film was made by Darren Aronofsky hot on the tail of his success with the movie PI (that will show up soon). REQ had a larger budget and was better produced, but it has a similar visceral quality to the storytelling as PI.
  6. A lot of people will say this movie is depressing. It's not. It's frightening.
  7. You'll be both sad and glad when it's over. Sad because you liked it and wanted to stay longer to see the characters turn their lives around. Glad because you realize you can't take much more. You really don't want to know what happens to them after. There is no "turning their lives around".
  8. You think "It won't go there", but it does.
  9. If you don't like it, leave a comment here warning others to stay away. Think of the service you'll be providing by pre-screening the film.
  10. It's a little over 1 1/2 hours long. What will you miss by watching it? "American Idol" and half of "So You Think You Can Dance", and if you can't bear to miss those, you can always tape them.


At 9:35 PM, Blogger Jan Andrea said...

Jennifer Connelly takes off her clothes? Then I can never see it -- she'll always be Sarah in the Labyrinth for me, and Sarah (as much as she should have stayed with the Goblin King) oughtn't be naked.

At 11:20 PM, Blogger FranksFilms said...

I can certainly understand your argument. However, it's not quite the same shock as seeing the Meg Ryan sex flick "In the Cut". As much as I sometimes like seeing an attractive naked woman, there's just something profoundly wrong with that movie.


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