Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Contact / Requiem For A Dream

Contact first came to my attention whilst reading views of the masterpiece that is Interstellar – and this was several months after first viewing it on the big screen. Another film involving space and Matthew McConaughey that in spite of its age (made in 1997), is still regarded as one of the finest examples of science fiction.

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Even the name was anonymous to me. But with all the apparent praise and the fact that it again involved the search for answers beyond the rock we all know, I knew there was a chance I’d enjoy it…

And I certainly did!

Jodie Foster portrays a young woman intent on scanning the skies for sounds and signals of other intelligence, somewhere within the great unknown. This is an interest that, as we learn, is with her character from a very young age. Without wanting to give anything more away, a signal is received and then decoded – this is about as much as I knew going in to the film and I really think it’s the best way to prepare for it. If you haven’t already seen it, your mind could be ready to expect just about anything (although we’re not talking Men in Black or Independence Day here, just for clarity… It’s slightly more science than it is fiction).

But the way they portray ‘the outcome’ of this story is very well done, stands well today, over eighteen-years later and, perhaps most importantly, is not entirely unbelievable?… Maybe that last statement can be debated but knowing what we have learned from science and even from other films, like Interstellar, I don’t think it’s as impossible as it might have seemed two-decades ago.

Requiem for a Dream – a film I had most definitely heard of and yet, for some reason, assumed Joaquin Phoenix played the lead role… That might be because I have only in recent years learned the correct pronunciation of ‘Requiem‘ as well as the forename of Mr. Phoenix!

So, I’d heard of it… But even I knew nothing of it’s content. I’d added it to my LoveFilm rental list because it consistently achieves scores in excess of 80% wherever you happen to look.

Jared Leto, Marlon Wayans, Ellen Burstyn and Jennifer Connelly.

Four names playing four characters who gradually intertwine, connect and interact as the story runs its course. Right now, that may sound a lot like the 2005 film Crash (one of my personal favourites). But where Requiem becomes engrossing is in the individual exploration of each characters personal suffering.

Ultimately, they each end up the victims of addiction. Some of which begins with drug use; others may be as simple as a routine involving daytime TV and junk food. As each story develops, running parallel to one another, we witness the highs and cataclysmic lows that rock each of the characters lives. We witness a simultaneous suffering… I find it hard to put this one in to words and fear I’ve already said too much but it’s all very well done.

I doubt I’ll be adding either film to my personal DVD collection – as much as I enjoyed Contact, I currently only have room for Interstellar [see, that’s the third time I’ve mentioned it now in this post!] and while Requiem for a Dream is very well made, I find it difficult to enjoy watching any film with frequent drug use and I’ll tell you another thing – I will never be able to look at the actor Keith David with any sense of comfort again! :-/

Thanks for reading my unwritten ramble.

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