Aronofsky simply can't get enough of himself. Thirty seconds after the movie begins, he opts for a pointless split-screen shot. From there on out he lays on a repetitive cavalcade of slow motion, fast motion, more split screens, cameras attached to actors, grainy surveillance images, dissolves, fades to black, fades to white, underwater shots, cameras on the ceiling, cameras on the ground, dream sequences, hallucinations, slowed-down vocal tracks, sped-up vocal tracks, grinding music, electronic blips, etc. You better wear some headgear if you opt to sit through this thing; there's a good chance you'll want to tear your hair out.
What bothers me the most about Requiem for a Dream is that it seems so excited about the requiem and so lackadaisical about the dream. An early sequence returns to the split-screen format to show Harry and Marion in bed, murmuring sweet nothings from pillow to pillow. The standard critical rap on a scene like this is that the frames-within-the-frame isolate the characters from one another, showing how each remains an island despite their yearning for some kind of metaphysical connection. Aronofsky and his editor, Jay Rabinowitz (best known at the time for his work on Jim Jarmusch films), however, have a more lyrical touch than that. In some moments, the double-framing actually seems to close the space between them; in others, one image shows fingers touching skin in extreme close-up as one of the lovers appears in profile in the frame beside. Libatique cites the scene's "cubist feel." These are beautiful images. He's a charming loser and she comes off as a poverty tourist, but as long as they cherish that kind of beauty, you can at least understand why they're together. 2b1af7f3a8