Requiem for a Dream

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Year Released: 2000
Rating: 2.0

Trite film that could probably be double-billed with Traffic - both feature virtuoso visual styles and loaded casts - but, despite the obvious quality and care involved in the presentation, there's really nothing there substance-wise. Technically, Aronofsky is just a hair away from Michael Bay - the only difference being that Aronofsky thinks he's an art director. Just stop me if you heard this one: a bunch of drug users enter their own nightmarish world of addiction in which they can't get out of, doing anything for the next "high" - Ellen Burstyn is on speed to help her lose weight so she can fulfill a dream and be on TV (eventually, the refrigerator comes and gets her); Jennifer Connelly is a heroin addict who, like the teenage girl in Traffic, stoops so low as to have sex with a black man and eventually some sort of pay-per-view lesbian sodomy-thing. The juxtapositions near the end of the picture at least make things stark and riveting for an instant, but after the Brakhagesque light show wears off, all of Aronofsky's tricks are out of his proverbial hat. I thought about this for a bit: we, as a film culture, laugh endlessly over the hilarity of Reefer Madness ... but isn't all this "modern" film taking the same approach in a different direction? At least Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas made drugs look scary and funny, and who can complain about Trainspotting's fabulous score?