Monday, November 22, 2004

requiem for a dream

we watched the film of the above title on DVD tonight. it's probably sick to say, but i really enjoyed it. in general, i like junkie movies b/c they are often bleak and surreal, and they make me never want to do heroin. and this one was horrible. perfectly so. ellen burstyn was just ... unspeakably amazing. the way the film parallels the licit and illicit drugs ... and how both systems surrounding each type just chew up the user and spit them out. in a certain way, ellen burstyn is just as used as jennifer connelly is -- willingly, yet in the grips of something stronger than her control. jared leto -- who will probably forever first come to mind as having been jordan catalano, angela's unattainable (?) lust object in my so-called life. i can't decide if he can really act or not. he has a bit of a whiff of keanu about him -- that pretty blankness you can kinda project stuff onto. which, maybe that IS acting, sorta. but not in a meryl streep way.

the music (featuring the kronos quartet) was incredible and really well used. it helped give it a sense of timelessness, although certain elements -- big TV, cordless phones -- did pin it to at least a vague present day. but the music was an integral part of the story, emphasizing, i suppose, the "requiem" part with all the string work, so off-kilter, eerie yet beautiful, driving in a menacing fashion, telegraphing badness but celebrating it, too. the other musical element was different strains of manic techno, which i love in movies but find fairly dull after a while in clubs.

still, i had issues with how dire it was. i suppose it's realistic, the depths-of-addiction stuff, i honestly don't know. but at a certain point it began to feel ... moralistic. limb loss, madness, anal stunt sex for the party people, and hard labor were the fates of our different sorry protagonists. only one of them got what she wanted, and did she really want it? (or, perhaps more to the point, was it good for her? ... see? moralistic.) yes, i haven't read the book, so i can't say what selby himself had in mind.

we also watched boys don't cry recently -- uh huh, it's the my-life-DOESN'T-suck film festival -- which was also good, but i think i liked requiem better. it was more stylish, although both films had a certain style. they weren't that much alike in obvious ways, but the two films did share a doomed-from-square-one feeling, a disorienting style, and a sense of claustrophobia alternating with emptiness. anyway, hilary swank did well, but in a way i again felt that keanu-esque blankness (and i'm not hatin' here; i shamelessly adore mr. reeves) ... she obviously did a lot of work on mannerisms and all that method jazz, but ... i dunno. despite the pantomime, she didn't seem much like a boy to me, not even the girlie boys i knew and loved in high school. which, yeah, she was supposed to be a girl pretending to be a boy, but she was also supposed to be a girl pretending to be a boy well enough to fool a bunch of people for a certain amount of time. some of them intimately. otherwise, she did convey the gender confusion and the sense that this person was weirdly fucked up -- as they'd be. again, it was a damn bleak world these characters occupied, one somehow more squalid and horrifying than the junkies'. interestingly.

still. perhaps it's time for a change. i borrowed the watership down DVD from a friend. maybe we should watch THAT next. does it have a happy ending? i can't remember the book anymore.

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