Requiem for a Dream (2000) (aka Delusion Over Addiction) is a film directed by Darren Aronofsky, dealing with different forms of addiction leading to imprisonment in a dream world, which is overtaken and devastated by reality. It is based on the eponymous 1978 book by Hubert Selby, Jr The soundtrack (frequently described as "eerie" and "haunting") has been composed by Clint Mansell and performed by the Kronos Quartet.

Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers

The film tells the stories of mother and son, Sara and Harry Goldfarb, and stars Ellen Burstyn and Jared Leto.

Sara is an older woman who lives alone in an apartment in Brooklyn, spending all day in front of her TV set. Her son's involvement in drugs causes her great concern but she cannot share this with anybody else.

When she receives a phone call from a television company, her life gets a new meaning. She is invited to be a contestant on one of her favorite game shows. The dream of being popular and sharing her luck with the whole country gets a grip on her existence and conception of reality. She starts taking weight-loss drugs, which she later discovers contain addictive stimulants (probably amphetamine).

Meanwhile, Harry and his friend Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) start to earn their money as drug dealers. The profitable business and the drugs seem to be the fulfillment of dreams for Harry and his girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly), but when Harry wants to apologize to his mother, he is shocked by her mental and physical condition and the bubbles of both of them soon burst. The movie ends with shocking scenes of Harry and Sara being medically treated, in the very depths of drug addiction.

As in his previous film, &pi, Aronofsky demonstrates his unique style of movie making with ever repeating rapid cut scenes, which remain a constant element throughout the whole film, the depiction of pain (not violence), the graphic insight into the characters' minds and the opposition of initially different situations, which result in the very same effect.

Requiem for a Dream does belong to the drug movie category, Trainspotting being a typical example, yet Aronofsky's approach to the drug theme is less bohemian than in the latter one. Nevertheless, the director refrains from being moralistic or even critical. The consequences of legal and illegal drugs are shown as similarly devastating, and similar cinematic devices are even used to portray Mrs. Goldfarb's television viewing regimen.

Cast overview

  • Ellen Burstyn .... Sara Goldfarb
  • Jared Leto .... Harry Goldfarb
  • Jennifer Connelly .... Marion Silver
  • Marlon Wayans .... Tyrone C. Love
  • Christopher McDonald .... Tappy Tibbons
  • Louise Lasser .... Ada
  • Marcia Jean Kurtz .... Rae
  • Janet Sarno .... Mrs. Pearlman
  • Suzanne Shepherd .... Mrs. Scarlini
  • Joanne Gordon .... Mrs. Ovadia
  • Charlotte Aronofsky .... Mrs. Miles
  • Mark Margolis .... Mr. Rabinowitz