Requiem For A Dream
Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream, one of the most forceful anti-drug narratives ever to be committed to celluloid. To call this movie a cautionary tale would be to apply a label that is too tame -- Requiem for a Dream presents the darkest take imaginable on a story of hopes and dreams shattered by drug addiction. There's no preaching or sermonizing here, just an almost-clinical depiction of lives laid to waste. This is not a film for the weak of mind or soul. Even in the midst of the whirlwind of a film festival, when I was seeing four films a day and the tendency was for everything to blur into a continuum, this one stuck out, demanding attention and rumination. It is a force to be reckoned with.
As he proved with his art house success, Pi, Aronofsky is not afraid to take chances, and Requiem for a Dream represents a big one. Based on the novel by Hubert Selby Jr., this movie was granted the MPAA's NC-17 "kiss of death" for its uncompromising portrayal of the depths to which some people will sink to get their fix. No punches are pulled, no images "prettied up". Undaunted by the MPAA's hypocritical and senseless stance, Aronofsky appealed the rating, rightfully claiming that cutting any portion of the film would dilute, if not outright destroy, its message. The appeal was denied, but Artisan, in a move that affirms their commitment to art over commercialism (at least in this case) has decided to release the film unrated.