Sunday, October 02, 2005

Requiem For a Dream (2000) * The Best Movie I Have Ever Seen *

Hello all. I thought I'd do something a little different for this film. I know when you're reading along, you might skip the
Acting section or just browse through Cinematography. I know the way it works. This film is too important to skip down to the red Overall Rating that I'll be granting. Too important, not just to me but also in regards to the lesson it teaches. Yes, I'll rate it as per usual on my scale, but I'm sure it'll be more of an essay on perfection rather than the normal review.

You see, I want you to walk away with the knowledge that this film moved me immensely, and still hits hard the third time around, because this is the best movie ever made.

First of all though, a warning. I've lent this to others and I've heard such things as, "It's not THAT good", "Why are you so dark?" and "That's too heavy for me." Well to the first comment I say: not everyone can like the same thing, fine, it might not be your bag, but I know no one who actually HATED this film, so watch it.

To the 'dark' comment, I don't know why I love tragedy (well I do but I won't get into it) but it's my favorite genre. It's not a fun film, remember that. It's the best lesson teaching film I've ever seen and I'm of the opinion that part of the drug speech you have with your kids when they hit 14 should include a viewing of this film. Maybe 14 is too early, but better they get shocked from a movie than from mainlining coke and popping speed, so watch it.

To those who watch film like they watch reality TV, never wanting to watch a 'heavy' film, you're missing the point of such a versatile medium, and obviously this website isn't for you. The best stories are the ones that linger and impact. Disney is great for children, and we all return to it now and then, but when an injustice has been done and you want to learn more about it, don't you go and watch Hotel Rwanda? Well you should, and documentaries too, like The Corporation, The Take, and Bowling for Columbine. So on that note, this being the best teacher of the drug lesson ever, WATCH IT.

I guess I'll start by extolling the virtues of the 4 main actors:

Jared Leto, who was in Fight Club, plays the main character, a man with high ambition and some good ideas. Jared is absolutely perfect in this role. There's nothing he could do to be better. It's like he spent all his Oscar chips on this one.

His best friend, played by Marlon Wayans, is the man with the connections and gets in on the drug dealing business. Marlon's is my favorite character. The bits about his mother are heart-wrenching, and Marlon has never been better in anything, ever.

The girlfriend, played by Jennifer Connelly, of House of Sand and Fog fame is the second biggest name in the cast. She's absolutely gorgeous and her portrayal of how the addiction burrows its way into her relationships is the most gripping of all the stories, since it shows the terrible side of human desire.

Finally the biggest name is Ellen Burstyn, academy award winner. You may remember her from such small art house films as The Exorcist. Yeah. This is the caliber of acting that we have. Ellen plays the mother, whose dream of being a contestant on a TV show drives her to lose a few pounds, with the help of a prescription.

Acting gets a perfect 10. To think that there's better roles out there is possible, but from the casting to the secondary and tertiary characters, and the little author cameo, it's all perfection. Highest marks ever, terrific direction.

Cinematography: They have a way of making the sexy look disgusting, pain hurt deep down in your bowels, and the visual effects make you nod in understanding at the mindset and overall mood of the scenes, from peace and happiness to pain and suffering. Throwing in cocaine with coffee in the "using" scenes makes beautiful sense and even the simple shots are beautiful, with interesting angles, lenses, zooms and filters. They didn't hold back here. And neither do they refrain from showing appropriate gore and other icky moments, though never overboard. It's beautiful how perfect the entire look of this is, and what bumps this up to a perfect 10 is the moments when they're high. Yes, it looks like fun, it looks good, it gets the message across, then yes it turns horrible too, and we get it, even if we never touched bennies, dope or snow.

Script: Sadly, this script cannot get a perfect 10 in my books, but it does get a 9. Simplicity in declaration of plans and mad retorts of strung out withdrawal in obvious emotionally charged situations are offset by serene moments of professions of love and remembrance of a sweeter time. It's not poetry in motion, but it's good, clear, precise and honest. Freaky good.

Plot: The presence of imagination, those scenes where you think they're doing something for real then it goes back to them just thinking about it, that's a nice touch of fantasy. You know when you think about it, this is classic 5 act film, with an introduction and 4 seasons of progress. Each character arc is honest and we truly have no questions about the motives of any scene, except the lingering questions at the end that bore into you for days. It is very dark however so be warned. Be ready to either bask in the moment alone, or have your friends ready to shake this off a little. Either way, I found it absolutely exhilarating. The ending and their symbolic 'last-scene' moment is utterly brilliant. This is what storytelling should be about, and for that it gets a 10, never have I seen a tale so rife with the weight of meaning.

And you wonder what I think of the Mood overall? Fear crushes your heart with an iron grip. Loneliness, longing, addiction and the desire for acceptance entwines itself into your soul and pulls at every moment of pain you've ever felt, expanding it and making it present, current, and heavy, though not without respite. The moments of joy, happiness and hope are only elevated to again be dropped from newfound heights. This gets the highest rating possible of 10 because the shattering of dreams crack the characters so deeply and change so perfectly their entire beings, each in a different way, that a future free of suffering is unimagined for years for each and every one of the players.

Requiem For a Dream ... Perfect title.

Oh, you feel this, and it lingers long.

That's why this film gets an Overall Rating of 98%, the highest score I've ever given.

Aftertaste: Man is this ever moving. If I find a 100% movie, I will begrudgingly bump this down to second place, but I really don't see that happening ever in my life. After all this, aren't you interested? Do yourself a favour, expand your artistic and humanist horizons, just for one night. Watch this... Just watch it.

You won't regret it, I promise.