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Brewer Burns

Monday, January 08, 2007

Requiem for a Dream (movie review, because that's what's on my mind)(Spoilers!)

I watched Requiem for a Dream on Friday night. And I liked it. I had the DVD sitting around my house for about five weeks because I felt like I wasn’t really ready to watch it, knowing that it was going to be pretty depressing. I have to save those kinds of movies for the once in a blue moon when I can emotionally handle them. That’s why I like Netflix. I can keep movies around for as long as I want. Unfortunately, I live with Stephen who gets itchy to send movies back within a reasonable time (to which I reply: then why do we have Netflix? If you’re so worried about returning movies within a certain time period why don’t we go back to renting from Blockbuster and racking up late fees?) So, anyway, Stephen put Requiem for a Dream in at 10:00 p.m. on Friday night and we watched it. I can see why the movie got such good reviews. Sure, it’s depressing, and revolves around drug addiction, but in a very different way from other movies I’ve seen dealing with the same issues. Unlike Train Spotting, it’s not told like a heroin addict actually directed, produced and edited the movie itself. Unlike My Own Private Idaho it actually has a plot (that makes sense!) I really thought the best thing about the movie was the way that Ellen Burstyn’s and Jared Leto’s (mother and son, respectively) characters had both intersecting and parallel lives.

I thought that the way that Sarah’s (Ellen Burstyn) story is told was particularly good. She is not simply a caricature. She’s a real character. We see her, we see how she lives, we see her loneliness, and how she deals with her loneliness (by watching infomercials for something called “JUICE.”) We see how easily her addiction begins. With diet pills. She takes the pills, she feels peppy and excited and she loses weight. And then she just keeps going and eventually is both completely addicted and completely out of control all at the same time. During the same period we see that Harry (Jared Leto) sees what is happening with his mother, warns her about the danger, but is ultimately too wrapped up in his own life (and his own addiction) to help her when she needs it most. Conversely, when Harry needs Sarah the most, she is completely incapacitated.

There were a couple of plot points that confused me. When Marlon Wayan’s character is in the back of the car, and everyone gets shot, and he gets arrested, were the cops supposed to be in on the shooting? If not, then how did they arrive on scene so quickly? Also, who took Harry and Marlon’s (I can’t remember the character’s name) money? The cops? How did they find it? The rival drug dealers? Again, how did they find it? Interesting. Why does Marlon keep seeing flashbacks of his mother? Is it supposed to illustrate the fact that he feels like he’s disappointed her? I generally just think that Marlon’s character isn’t very well developed. Oh! When Harry checks into the hospital and the doctor sees his arm, why don’t they treat him then and there and hold him until the police can take him into custody? I suspect that this is done simply for dramatic effect so that we, the viewing audience, can sympathize even more with Harry’s character as his arm literally rots off and the people who are supposed to help him refuse to (until it’s too late.) Lastly, I’m sorry, but the bit about going into the back of the grocery store and the delivery truck opening up, and there’s the drug kingpin sitting there with stacks of bagged heroin behind him? Yeah. I don’t buy that for a single second. (Of course, if someone would like to comment and tell me that in their old life as a heroin addict/drug dealer they actually witnessed such a scene, then I will stand corrected.)

Many things in this movie hit close to home for me. I know someone who had electro-shock therapy in the last five years, and I know someone who is a heroin addict, had an infected sore where he continued to shoot up, and eventually contracted botulism from this activity. He was lucky though. He didn’t die, and he didn’t lose a limb, but he did have to learn how to walk again.

I cast on for a new project yesterday, the Rib & Cable socks from the Spring ‘06 IK, re-sized for Stephen’s feet, in Brown Sheep Company’s Wildfoote. So far it’s going well, and I turned the heel on the first sock last night.


At 9:25 PM, Blogger Moni said...

I *love* requiem for a dream. It's one of my favorite movies and one of the few DVDs that I actually own. I am going to have to watch it again to catch the plot holes you have :). I can't get milk from the grocery without thinking of the "Juice" guy's backstory: "I used to front the milk."


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