12 :: desiring a perfect world ::
The scene is the Rainbo Club. Fletcher, Jakob and Freya are gathered around a table, drinking beers. Conversation has turned to movies.
Fletcher: So, Requiem For a Dream. Seen it?
Freya: Seen it.
Jakob: Seen it.
Fletcher: And what did you think?
Jakob: I don't know. I preferred Pi. In Pi you've got the stock market, you've got go, you've got Kabbalistic Jews in Requiem For a Dream all you've got is a bunch of junkies.
Freya: Not a big fan of the junkie movie, eh?
Jakob: It's not that; it's just that I've already seen a lot of junkie movies. I was reading some paper and the critic wrote “Even junkies are now bored with junkie movies.”
Fletcher: I liked Rosenbaum's thing in the Reader: “junkie movies tend to follow predictable patterns, just like junkies themselves.”
Jakob: Yeah, exactly. You know how the thing's going to turn out before it gets very far. Say what you like about Pi, one thing is for sure: you don't know what's going to happen next.
Freya: But even the title basically lets you know that there's not going to be a happy ending, for God's sake. It's not like Aronofsky gives the ending away by accident It's necessary to the film that we know what's going to happen.. It's like, well, take Romeo and Juliet for example. It's obvious how that's going to end pretty early on, and yet it's a story that's stuck around for hundreds of years. So I don't think Requiem for a Dream is about plot; I think it's about the characters. It's about identifying with those people even though you know they're doomed.
Jakob: But I don't think we're meant to identify with those characters.
Freya: Oh, I do.
Jakob: Junkie movies are built around dramatic irony. We know that they're doomed, but they can't see it. They're inside of their little drug-world terrarium. They can't see out. The film works because it gives us knowledge that the characters don't have. That puts us in a position to feel smarter than thembasically superior to them. When we feel bad at the end of the movie, we feel bad in the same way we feel if we were watching somebody hit a dog with a stick.
Freya: No, I don't agree. Junkie movies are about desiring a perfect world. People will do a lot to live in a perfect world. They'll fucking destroy themselves for it. And the worse your world is, the more intense your desire becomes. I think that's very human behavior. I don't think I'm any smarter than those people. I think the difference between me and them is purely circumstantial. I think that's what the movie is trying to say.
Jakob: You mean, that if you
Freya: I mean that I understand that kind of desperation. I identify. Really. I do.