|Fig 1 - Requiem for a Dream Poster|
Ellen Burstyn was nominated for Best Actress at the 73rd Academy Awards for her portrayal of Sara Goldfarb, a character who required extensive makeup and prosthetic application to achieve the look of Sara's various 'stages'. Having now seen the film a third time, I can safely say that Ellen Burstyn's performance is the most tragically watchable element throughout. Having said that, I think that equal credit is deserved by Jennifer Connelly who gives an incredibly raw performance that proves to be tragic in a much different way.
|Fig 2 - Requiem for a Dream - Harry and Marion|
Incidentally, much of the film's relentlessly bleak atmosphere comes from it's score by composer Clint Mansell. Though popular culture has used it's main theme "Lux Aeterna" in countless attempts to 'amp up' certain singing contests, the orchestral piece remains a haunting backdrop to the hopelessness of the film's narrative and plays out almost as an audible warning of things to come. However, for my money the most effective piece (entitled "Meltdown" on the soundtrack) plays out in it's entirety during the final act and perfectly coincides with the horrific imagery on-screen. Something about the foreboding echoes of the strings and harsh vibrato give an already difficult scene more of a stomach-churning edge, making the experience of watching all the more memorable.
Requiem for a Dream is a film that will stay with you long after it's over, whether you want it to or not. It succeeds greatly in communicating the mindset of it's characters and boasts stimulating visuals that mimic the growing dread of their desperation. Certainly not for the faint of heart, though. You may want to follow this up with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) to readjust your stance.
Fig. 1 Requiem for a Dream Poster (2000) From: Requiem for a Dream - Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Fig. 2 Requiem for a Dream Screenshot (2000) From: Requiem for a Dream - Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
(Aronofsky, 2000) Mini Documentary - The Making of "Requiem for a Dream"