Requiem for a Dream is not your conventional drug addiction movie, in the sense that it not only deals with conventional drugs. Such films often just portray people getting involved with drugs and how they are destroyed by it. In a sense Darren Aronofsky also plays along these lines but it does so in a more radical manner. This is not a film about drugs; the film itself is the drug. Temporarily the film makes a junkie out of you. Employing fast montages, similar to Pi, close ups and eccentric musical score, the movie gets you high; dizzy, irrational, without logic. Using the lives of the four main characters, Aronofsky shows how “everything is messed up”, without providing redemption that usually goes with this kind of narrative.
The story starts with Harry (Jared Leto) arguing with his mother Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn), he and his fried Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) again pawns their TV for cash. Again Mrs. Goldfarb, lets it go, she just wants her TV back. Harry and Tyrone has a plan in order to not to run out of money again; peddle drug themselves. The plans works out, much welcomed by Marion (Jennifer Connelly), Harry’s girlfriend, also an aspiring designer hoping to jump start her business. Mrs. Goldfarb also receives good news; she has the chance to be on TV! She looks for her red dress dyes her hair, and realized she needs to lose weight to be perfect in screen. She gets a prescription diet pills and waits for the right day. In the long run, Harry and Tyrone get caught up in drug trade violence, Marion uses her body for money, while Mrs. Goldfarb is being harassed by her refrigerator preventing her from watching TV peacefully.
The film problematizes the concept of drug addiction and societal response towards it; containment, stigma, “treatment”. By revealing the inner laws of addiction, we remain sympathetic to the four; not finding a big difference between their aspirations than that of our. Harry wants to provide Marion dreams, eventually get married and have children. So does Tyrone, frequently remembering his mother. The three they will bend over backwards to get this done. Mrs. Goldfarb just wants to be on TV; she is a widow, Harry is a junkie most of the time, and now she can’t even eat what she wants to eat. She wants her young looks, and the stare her husband use to give her. Drug addiction is condemned easily, but not the cause; a lonely and alienated world. We are so depended on drugs in form of consumerism and the fulfillment of the bourgeois fantasy, that the only way to clam ourselves, get us thru the day, is to get some more. This is what the film is all about, a world that makes us aspire so much, but actually provides so little. In the end we don’t see hope only the absurd.