Suddenly, there was… silence
There is something different about this scene. The visuals are all the same – Sara sitting in her armchair in front of the TV set – but this time the TV is off and instead of the usual chatter there’s a disconcerting quietness.
Let’s look at the events and the order in which they unfold:
1. Sara takes her pills
2. Sara sits in her armchair and stares at the TV set, which is off.
3. Sara takes more pills
4. Sara’s once more sitting in her armchair and staring at the TV set, which is still off.
In this second round of pills the camera gets a bit closer to her. We can perceive that she’s far from comfortably enjoying some quite time. On the contrary, there are clear signs of restlessness in her demeanour, as if she’s waiting for something to happen that isn’t happening.
This uncomfortable silence seems to be having a powerful effect on Sara, and on us the audience, too. We can’t help feeling rather uneasy and are wondering as much as Sara what’s going on.
We get kind of an answer a minute later, after another scene from the other strand of the story:
The pills are no longer giving Sara the usual buzz. The nurse on the other side of the phone explains to her that maybe she’s just becoming “adjusted”. Sara takes another round of pills and the euphoria comes back to her. The room is again filled with the sound and pictures of “Juice”
Two significant things in terms of subjectivity here:
One is the quality of the silence. First, it stands in stark contrast with the previous scenes taking place in the living room, and that’s what makes it so significant. Second, think of this scene with a bit of atoms: maybe some birds singing outside (in some early scenes we do hear birds, so it is no accident), or some cars passing by. It would still be silence in that no one is speaking and the TV is off, but it would also give the scene a milder, less dark tone. The silence here is of a more psychoacoustic and therefore subjective nature – zero silence, and that’s what makes it so creepy.
The other significant thing is that this scene offers the answer to a question that we the audience formed in the previous section when we were abruptly pulled out of her subjective point of view (that scene takes place much later in the film): How long has this been going on? How long have we been inside the delusional head of Sara thinking it was real when it wasn’t? Like in crime stories, the clue was given in good time, specifically in this scene, only we (at least some of us!) missed its relevance:
Pills not making effect = total silence
Pills making effect = room/Sara’s head becomes alive again with the sound and pictures of “Juice”
Conclusion: It is the pills that are causing her to see things the way she does.
Part 1 Requiem For A Dream: Sara’s Subjective Journey To Insanity 1
Part 2 Requiem For A Dream: Sara’s Subjective Journey To Insanity 2
Part 3 Requiem For A Dream: Sara’s Subjective Journey To Insanity 3
Part 4 Requiem For A Dream: Sara’s Subjective Journey To Insanity 4
Part 5 Requiem For A Dream: Sara’s Subjective Journey To Insanity 5
Part 6 Requiem For A Dream: Sara’s Subjective Journey To Insanity 6
Part 6 Requiem For A Dream: Sara’s Subjective Journey To Insanity 7
Part 8 Requiem For A Dream: Sara’s Subjective Journey To Insanity 8