For the two years that I’ve participated in the blind spot series, I’ve reserved what I think was the bleakest, most daunting film for the finale. I’ve failed to complete my whole list for the year, but 11 out of 12 doesn’t seem so bad. I’ve heard good things about Requiem, how it was so bleak and depressing, but also a fantastic film. Up until I’ve seen the film have I been overselling it to my head, saving what I thought was the best for last. Sad to say but it did not meet my expectations.
The film revolves around four people – Harry, his girlfriend Marion, their friend Tyrone, and Harry’s mother, Sara. Harry, Marion and Tyrone are heroin addicts who decide to join the drug trade to make big bucks and reach their goals. Sara, a television addict, got an invitation to appear in television and began obsessing over her looks, resorting to pill-popping as a solution. Watching the events unfold, it is evident that these characters’ points of view were limiting. Everyone that they encountered just closed off or were dissolved to background noise. In a logical sense, some of these people would have noticed and would have probably said something, even if it falls of deaf ears.
Then again, this film isn’t about redemption from drug abuse. This is to show the terrors of being hooked on drugs, that nothing good comes out of it. The characters might be fueling their addiction, but to what cost? Their motives might be well meaning, but the way to achieve their means is not the best way to go through it. The most crucial scenes of the film happen during the latter half, when everything goes array. This is why the film ends in a bleak tone, to see what the characters experience and there’s no feeling of redemption from some of them. There’s regret and degradation.
In a way the reviews were true, but the film fails to launch its message beyond the surface. I don’t think Aronofsky wanted this to serve as a lesson, but on some point, a film about drug abuse has to make the audience think, to scar them about the horrors and perils of that world. I do think that this is different from most abuse films because it subtly mentions the successes of being a drug user. They are mentioned in passing, but it’s there. It just so happened that the characters were so unlucky, but that’s the reality of it. Not everyone can go to the business, or be a user without consequence. Most of the time people would end up like them.
The score of the film was familiar; it might have been used in other works beside this, making it iconic. It adds to the tension of the scene, especially when the scene is supposed to make impact. The actors were good, but not one performance stood out. They were able to allow themselves to shine against their co-stars.
My expectations were too high, or I got swept away by the hype, but either way, it wasn’t what I expected it to be. The film has its moments, but it failed to make an impact or be memorable.
Final Word: Definitely not what I expected.
Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly
Director: Darren Aronofsky