Film scores

Soundtrack review: Requiem for a dream (Clint Mansell – 2000)

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“Requiem for a dream” is one of the most intense, moving and visceral movies I’ve ever seen. This is the kind of movie that will tear you apart and make you want to hug your loved ones and be grateful that they are ok. After you see this movie you will either become a drug addict or never touch any drugs. For me this is the best movie about addiction and Darren Arronofsky’s crown achievement so far. I watch it with the same knot in my stomach and the same claw over my heart.

Clint Mansell wrote the score and together with The Kronos Quartet he created something incredible. This score is the very definition of addiction and descent. The movie might not have made me addicted to drugs but the score made me need a fix from it very often. It went straight into my blood stream and those strings echo eternally inside me. No, let me rephrase that. Echo is to soft a word. They still make my blood boil and my heart beat ten times faster. They dilate my pupils and make me crave for another dose.

You’ve probably heard “Lux aeterna” dozens of times in trailers, motivational or even dramatic spots or videos. This is the main theme of the movie and pieces from it are scattered through summer, fall and winter, the three seasons that split this composition. This cue plunges into the deepest hole you can imagine and the descent does not stop. Guess what, it’s taking you with it; you might get dizzy but strangely you will also love it.

Clint Mansell had a very tough job: to make the score as visceral and effective as the movie. He needed to write something that chokes you, something that tears you to pieces and then throws those pieces to a pack of hungry feral dogs. You still feel everything, by the way. This score is full of illusions of happiness which it sells very well but they all crumble at the sweetest moment. It’s a short score but it feels much longer. It’s sharp and intense and with wild mood swings and shorts bursts of energy. “Requiem for a dream” is constructed just like a drug high with all its highs, lows, hopes and shattered dreams. It will leave and impression just as poignant as the movie and I think you’ll have an easier time listening to the score again rather than going through the movie one more time.

“Requiem for a dream” is a memorable score which I always mention on my short list of favorites. There’s something unique and appealing about it and this is a storm which you will not forget. Its main theme is that moment when you lose something you will never be able to replace, it’s the moment you know you need something that you can’t find and the moment when the only thing that can make you happy is out of your reach. Yes. A film music score can feel that way. try this one. Just say yes…

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 53 / 53

Album excellence: 100%

Highlights:

Summer: Summer Overture
Summer: Party
Summer: Coney Island Dreaming
Summer: Party
Summer: Chocolate Charms
Summer: Ghosts of Things to Come
Summer: Dreams
Summer: Tense
Summer: Dr. Pill
Summer: High on Life
Summer: Ghosts
Summer: Crimin’ & Dealin’
Summer: Hope Overture
Summer: Tense
Summer: Bialy & Lox Conga
Fall: Cleaning Apartment
Fall: Ghosts – Falling
Fall: Dreams
Fall: Arnold
Fall: Marion Barfs
Fall: Supermarket Sweep
Fall: Dreams
Fall: Sarah Goldfarb Has Left the Building
Fall: Bugs Got a Devilish Grin Conga
Winter: Overture
Winter: Southern Hospitality
Winter: Fear
Winter: Full Tense
Winter: The Beginning of the End
Winter: Ghosts of a Future Lost
Winter: Meltdown
Winter: Lux Aeterna
Remix
Winter: Coney Island Low

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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