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Requiem For A Dream

Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, Christopher McDonald a little of Louise Lasser and Keith David (I)

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

 

Requiem For A Dream is just Brilliant. RFAD is one of those rae wonderful films that tricks you right from the get go. I love that. You'll start off giggling at the idiosyncrasies of its offbeat characters. Judging them snickering behind their back— in front of them. Slowly they grow on you, and by the third act, your yelling at the screen. Helpless to help...

The entire cast has been chosen perfectly. Solid performances that ring of realism throughout. The role given them fitting like a character glove.

You're going to see real actors in their highest form.

Requiem's story goes...Sara Goldfarb (a brilliant-Oscar nominated- Ellen Burstyn) misses her husband. Sure, she has her son, but he's to busy running his import business. Oh, how naive parents can be.

Her beautiful son, Harry (Two words: Jared Leto), is a total skankfest extravaganza squared. When he isn't stealing his mother's TV and pawning it for the day's happy drug fix, he's out dealing dope to the masses. What a good boy.

His buddy, Tyrone (Marlon-man is this dude skinny-Wayans), too is a drug czarette. They have a plan. Score, sell, score, sell and then get a really big score sell. The druggies famous Snowball game. Yeah. Okay. That always works...

Meanwhile, back in Brighten Beach (a far cry from milkly pure Norman Mailer's Brighten Beach Memoirs) Harry's lonely mom, Sara, has won a contest of sorts.

Sara is addicted to TV when it's not in the pawnshop. She religiously watches Tappy (indie fave Christopher McDonald) Tibbon's Weight Loss Infomercial/Game Show. And when she gets a call direct from the over perky gameshow host himself explaining she's the next-ish lucky contestant on the show, she is simply ecstatic.

Sara's a tad odd to begin with but this news sends her into a whirlwind of near psychotic behavior. But, it also gives her some much needed excitement. She gets popular with the older divorced/widowed "crowd" that hangs in front of her building. Then she really gets her nerve and dyes her hair, as she waits...and waits... and waits for notification of her airdate...

Oops! Also, Sara has put on a few pounds over the years. Darn. She would really like to wear her red dress of yesteryear on the show...Think size 6 vs size 14. So, a helpful fellow inmate, er, tenant at her complex gives her a doctor's name. He specializes in diet pills.

Harry, the TV pawning scum-boy offspring, meanwhile is slowly working his way up the drug dealer ladder. His goal is not to rule his own hood, but a clothes store filled with the fashion designs of his love, Mirian Silver. Herself a junkie in waiting.

We are in the middle of a sort of mental symphony of requiems that are so driven you feel as if each cast member is stuck on a runaway train heading straight for the inevitable bridge that's out.

Will Sara ever get that call and be on the show of her dreams? Will Harry ever deal enough to open the shop of his dreams? Will Tyrone ever make drug money to follow his dreams of a better place to live? Sniff.

Ellen Burstyn was in a word- Genius. She is so compelling you weep and laugh simultaneously. This was, in my opinion, her strongest role yet. An actor can be driven to madness trying to get it this good.

Young buck-a-roo Jared Leto, who plays Harry here, reminds me of Terence Stamp ala The Collector era. Jared's got that whole 1960's British rock star look to him. As Harry, Leto is about as innocent as legendary bad boy Keef Richards. As an actor he's always direct, and strong. Not afraid to take huge chances with his characters likeability. Yet, so deep that as much of an ass as the boy is, Jared feeds us the character's inner soul with that perfect realism I mentioned earlier. Rare. Girly point: His eyes are scrumptious.

Marlon Wayans did a phenomenal job as Tyrone C. Love. Sure, he's molasses sweet on the retina, in a- slather- him down- with- some- dairy- whipped- lovecream- and lick- it- off -slowly- while- something- nasty- plays- in the- background- as- if -a- soundtrack -to- the- little edible- interlude, way... But aren't all 900 Wayans adorable? Marlonski got the real deal. Comedy is natural for him, sure, it's injected into the infant Wayans at birth. However, usually when a comic ventures out of the comic arena and into the thespian's ring, they are KO'd within the first few frames (James Carrey aside). Marlon should pursue some more serious roles 'cause we may have a deeply talented man here folks eking his way into Oscar land. Well, if he slows down on Scary Movie type crap...

The gal friend, Marion, played impeccably by an icredible actor, Jennifer Connelly, is also one to keep an eye on. She's lovely yet ominous. A nice mix and probably in great demand. Hopefully, as there is actual talent here.

You're not going to be disappointed if you enjoy people studies. Movies without a lot of FX but more about how we tick. Or, better, how some tick off a bit and crash, hard, into life's oblivion. The people we meet here, are so three-dimensional, you may have an urge to check up on them for an instant after you watch.

As an audience we don't often agree with the characters' life choices and watch helplessly as they each feed destructive addictions, and head towards their own personal swansongs, their requiems. Not a movie to see with PMS or if you're in a bad mental state yourself...Just warning you. No Garry Marshall ending here folks.

Snack recommendation: 1 egg. And 1/2 a grapefruit with a cup of black coffee.

Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, Christopher McDonald a little of Louise Lasser and Keith David (I)

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Blunt Aside:Check out the Requiem site.

Get the DVD here->

 

 

 

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