Requiem for a Dream

by

Requiem for a Dream! Now there’s a film I should see. Until then, here’s my tiresomely long review of it.

Addiction is the spice of life. Not the kind of spice that enhances a meal and makes you high-five your spouse. No, addiction is the kind of spice that makes you cry and choke like a First World War soldier trembling in a trench. Yes, addiction is a horrid mustard gas that kills and chafes. No, or rather, yes, addiction has a bullet with your name on it and he’s coming for you. You might flee, you might assume another identity, but he will catch up with you and pump you full of hurt.

We are all addicts. Some are easier to spot than others. Alcoholics, for instance, have cheeky red noses and a whimsical line in conversation. In many ways they are the merry gnomes of the addiction world. Cocaine addicts can be identified by their regulation outfit: pin-stripe suit, shiny shiny brogues and silly face. Nymphomaniacs on the other hand may be singled out by the involuntary rutting motion they exhibit when exposed to Rockabilly music. Me? My addictions are too numerous to mention, but here are a few: dogs, eye contact, getting my shoes buffed, key changes, lists. Collectively they have cost me all of my friends, every job I have ever had, my youthful looks and my self-esteem. On the upside, when someone starts working on my loafers with a greasy rag, a small quantity of lickspittle and a large quantity of elbow grease, I know in my heart that everything is going to be ok.

Heroin addiction is a much-misunderstood addiction. A recent survey indicated that 58% of the British population thought that a heroin addiction was a charming compulsion to read novels and watch films with strong leading ladies. When informed that heroin is a drug that dirty people prick into their veins via rusty spikes, many of the participants cried and felt sad. But they awoke sadder and wiser people. Such ignorance is unacceptable in the twenty-first century. Accordingly, the film Requiem for a Dream is a primer for curious but simple people on the advantages and disadvantages of heroin addiction. Below is an excerpt from the opening monologue by the heroin of Requiem for a Dream:

“Daddy came back from Vietnam with a monkey on his back. And that monkey was a smack addict. ‘Course, we didn’t call it smack back then. We called it Horse, or Ho Chi Minh, or Sandwiches. Once we called it Ho Chi Minh’s horse sandwiches. That was a light moment in an otherwise dark period.

All of our money went into the holes in that monkey’s spindly, hairy arms. He was real vulgar too. He used to snort all mocking-like when Elton John came on the television. “He’s just trying to entertain people” Momma would protest. Of course, knowing what I know now, I realise that the monkey was trying to warn us, in his simple simian way, of the threat that that bespangled winking pianist posed to our upright American household. Anyway, the monkey’s heroin addiction got worse and worse. I think the final straw came when Daddy found him hunched over on the sofa, trying to draw up a vein in his tiny monkey penis. No American child should have to see that, Daddy said to himself. It broke Daddy’s heart, but he knew the only way to stop this unending cycle of self-degradation was to strangle the monkey in his sleep. That night he crept into the living room and groped around in the dark for a thin furry throat. Seizing upon it, he cried one salty tear, and throttled away as humanely as was possible. Suddenly he heard a bark. He stopped frozen, and the awful truth dawned on him. He had killed our faithful hound, Enchilada, by mistake. No doubt my Daddy felt like Judas at that very moment. And no doubt old Enchilada had something of our Lord about him as he expired like a martyr on the shagpile. He was a good dog.

Deranged by grief, Daddy picked up the strung-out monkey he had failed to kill, and bundled him up in an old bowling bag. With the bag wedged under his powerful armpit, Daddy ran to Suicide Point. What Ho Chi Minh and all of his crazed communist witches had not achieved, guilt did. Shedding a second salty tear (Daddy was a thrifty weeper), he leaped from Suicide Point into the foaming brine. But what Daddy hadn’t counted on was the monkey waking up from its junk-induced stupor, freeing himself from the bowling bag and dragging Daddy to shore. Momma subsequently speculated that before the monkey leaped onto Daddy’s back in that Saigon brothel, he must have belonged to a Vietnamese Houdini-style escapologist. Pastor Whiteman said the monkey was guided out of the bowling bag by the hand of God. Whichever it was, the monkey had more miracles up its bristly sleeves. When he dumped Daddy on the sands of Suicide Beach and put his ear to his chest he realised that Daddy’s heart had stopped beating. As Daddy came to, the monkey was employing a sort of primitive primate CPR by beating him about the chest with both of his small leathery fists. Moved by the monkey’s efforts and by his own near brush with death, Daddy decided to spare his rescuer. The whole experience must have affected the monkey too, because the next day he booked himself into a rehab clinic. When he came out a month later, he was a new monkey. He opened a hardware store on the high street and joined the National Rifle Association.”

Interested? If so, Requiem for a Dream is available from all good filesharing websites. If not, I’ll see you after a while friend. Keep your beak out of the bad stuff until then.

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