A Horror of a Film


Elsewhere in blogland people have been talking about stepping out of their comfort zones and that is what I did last week. My little darling (17) convinced me that I should buy her a DVD about drugtaking. When I expressed concern that she should want to watch such a film she pulled the old “it will be good background for……[insert any appropriate school/college subject” card. Once they’ve played their ace you have no chance and so I found myself in Borders on Friday lunchtime being warned by the nice young man that it “isn’t a “pleasant film”.

Middle child had a half-day off work on Friday and so popped his head into the office on his way home. I was pleased to see him and eagerly thrust a cauliflower, a bag of fruit and the DVD into his hands. When I arrived home later that day he and his sister were watching the final seconds of the film and both were eager to sing its praises to me. I remained somewhat concerned about the subject matter. I prefer to read and watch more pleasant things and watch murder and detective films and programmes for the mise-en-scene rather than the bloodiness and cadaver quota.

Saturday began much earlier than usual as we were expecting the return of Big Daddy after his stint of more than a month in the lone-star state. It took me a while to clear his desk where I had been camping out during his absence and the kitchen table needed some serious surgery to allow more than three to dine at it. So with my brief housewiferly duties accomplished I was persuaded to sit down with with the offspring and experience “Requiem for a Dream”, directed by Darren Aronofsky.

The reason that my little darling wanted this film in the first place was because she had been to a gig, on Tuesday night, to see “30 Seconds To Mars”. The lead singer, Jared Leto. is also an actor and back in 2000 had been one of the main characters in the film. Out there in cyberspace he had been extolling the virtues of the film, urging everyone to view it. Consequently I was expected to observe the first few frames of the film and remark upon how gorgeous JL is. Apparently he had to lose quite a bit of weight for the role of Harry Goldfarb and therefore was a picture of slim slightly-goth youthfulness.

I am partial to films that look good and present me with interesting shapes and Aronofsky certainly does this in “Requiem for a Dream”. If I was better kine-educated there would would a multitude of filmic references on which to pick up. At the very least there are nods to de Sica and Busby Berkely. Like the films of Robert Bresson almost every frame is a work of art and the storyline is almost irrelevent, except of course that is what the whole film is about. My two companions were viewing for a second time and so could pick up on more and were able to absorb all elements of the split screens that occurred whenever drug-taking was involved.

There are brilliant comedic moments in this film and at times some of the protagonists are portrayed as caricatures rather than rounded personalities. Don’t allow this to let you think that the subject matter is not serious. Think of a Punch and Judy performance and you will have some idea of the effect.

I didn’t want to watch this film. I don’t enjoy “nasty” subjects and yet I couldn’t help myself. Just as the people in the movie were drawn into and down by what they started I couldn’t leave the room. The film is divided into acts and by the time we were moving from “Fall” to “Winter” Little Darling was saying, “I don’t want to watch this now, I don’t like this part.” Just like the addictions portrayed, the film has its hold on you and there is no escape. You don’t want to do it but you are there for the duration, whatever the consequences. It’s too late, you no longer have any free will.

One Response to “A Horror of a Film”

  1. Darshan Says:

    I admire Aronofsky’s skill as a filmmaker in this film but its murky material left me feeling very much the same as it did you. It would probably be my least favorite of his films.

    On the other hand, last year’s The Fountain was my favorite film of the year, if not in quite a few years. It is an unsung masterpiece that will probably find its audience in the long term. I have pieces about the film here,here, and if you want to check out a scene from it, I also have one posted here.

    I think that The Fountain might well get rid of that “unshowered” feeling that Requiem probably left you with.

    Great piece, thanks for sharing!


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