Life in the Pits

Aronofsky's follow-up to Pi is a brutal personal movie about the horrors of drug addiction

Credit Aronofsky for his perseverance. Three years ago he was soliciting contributions from friends and families -- $50 and $100 bills -- to get his first feature on the screen. Now that he has a reputation and a higher budget with which to work, he continues to press forward with a vision of hell on earth that's even more corrosive and moving than Selby's original. In terms of worldly sin and eternal damnation, Hieronymous Bosch has very little on him, much less the hacks who churn out the empty-headed mayhem of the superhero epics. A note on the music: Once again the young director uses a haunting electronic score by the British composer Clint Mansell to great effect. Mansell's soundtrack for Pi almost perfectly expressed the characters' fugitive states of mind, and he does it again here: This collaboration is becoming as fruitful as Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Hermann; let's hope it continues to thrive.

Obviously Requiem For a Dream isn't for the weak of heart, but it confirms the arrival of an important new filmmaker who refuses to ignore unpleasant facts and has found the means to get inside troubled psyches and troubled times.

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