***/**** Image A Sound A Extras B
starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans
screenplay by Hubert Selby Jr. and Darren Aronofsky, based upon the book by Selby Jr.
directed by Darren Aronofsky
by Bryant Frazer Few films are anywhere near as well made--as fierce and committed--as Requiem for a Dream, which stands as a 20-year-old landmark in an especially fertile era of New York indie filmmaking and one of the most expertly executed feel-bad narratives in the history of popular culture. Darren Aronofsky is a hell of a director, but he's always been a little, well, intense for my taste. He's got vision and passion to spare, and he clearly inspires dedication and devotion from his actors, yet I always feel there's something critical missing from the films themselves. If π is David Lynch without an angle on the truly bizarre and Black Swan is David Cronenberg without the painful psychological acuity, then Requiem for a Dream is John Waters without the sense of humour. I know Waters is friendly with Aronofsky, but imagining him watching this in a dark theatre and positively cackling at its most painfully outré gambits is what helps get me through its pitiless final act.