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When I picked Requiem For A Dream to watch earlier I had no real expectations other than it would be a bit odd. And was more because I’d been listening to the score earlier in the day. Turned out to be a rather good film, with excellent sound design going on. It’s a very visually clever and fascinating movie, and the shocking visuals are what most reviews of it focus upon, but the sound is no less intricate or beautiful. Often sound either compliments the images or draws the viewer’s attention to the details of them. At the start of the film there’s a lot of split screen stuff, with scenes being viewed from two different angles at once, but after a while you get used to it (which allows the trick to fade out of use later in the film without much conscious notice) and the sound attracts the attention back to the trick and the disjointedness of the experience being portrayed. The dialogue appears to be just that tiny bit out of sync, not enough to be silly but just that fraction off and as far as I can judge recorded far closer to the microphone than normal (I imagine the dialogue in those scenes is entirely ADR’d…) because it exists in the aural space normally occupied by narrations in film. It’s not in the space with the characters it’s outside of their space, detached. There’s numerous clever little tricks, simple things executed well, that serve to enhance the visual disorientation and general chaos. From the traditional (panning sounds from speaker to speaker to indicate movement and/or disorientation) to the unexpected (Marion’s underwater scream and the speechless dream), sound is always indicative of the character’s psychological state. It’s uncomfortable viewing at times, but compulsive at the same time. Strange how the things the characters cling to become the things that destroy them.

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