Directed by Darren Aronofsky and based on the equally titled seventies drug novel by Hubert Selby Jr, Requiem for a Dream examines the consumption of illegal drugs in a way never previously attempted on screen before, or since. Through an intense use of uncanny film-making techniques including split-screens, intercuts, wipe-cuts, hip-hop montages and over three times as many individual cuts as your average length feature, Requiem for a Dream is truly as much a film on drugs as it is about them.
Aronofksy deftly succeeds in crafting a severe and visceral sense of how drug use and abuse degrades not only the human body, but also the mind and the soul. Through a dynamic combination of cutting-edge direction and heartfelt screen performances, we’re forced to sympathise with four hapless American users to the bitterest of ends. Sure, the content is horrendous, but the visuals demand that we endure every last frame and cinematic nuance to the absolute max whether we want to or not. Not only is Requiem for a Dream an enigmatically masterful showcase of contemporary film-making that blares cinematic success, innovation and awe with a heavy dose of drug fuelled melodrama to spare, but it’s also the best anti-drugs film ever made.
Requiem for a Dream (2000), directed by Darren Aronofsky, is released on blu-ray disc and DVD by Momentum Pictures, Certificate 18.