Clint Mansell: Requiem For A Dream

Clint Mansell’s minimalist soundtrack to this 2000 psychological drama charts the deterioration of a group of drug addicts, and is best known for its declamatory, iconic 'Lux Aeterna', played by the Kronos Quartet.

Requiem for a Dream’s director Darren Aronofsky says his film is a monster movie – with addiction as the scary creature. Soundtrack composer Clint Mansell adds, “when something goes really bad, that's when you hear the music”. The stand-out track, 'Lux Aeterna', has been used in many other films and video games, including Assassin’s Creed and an orchestral arrangement called 'Requiem for a Tower', used in a trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Perhaps like no other modern soundtrack, Requiem For A Dream has become a musical byword for tension and nerve-shredding drama, thanks to the relentless, hammering strings in the 'Lux Aeterna'. It's one of the few pieces that could equally soundtrack a movie about addiction and something as frivolous as a TV talent show - but somehow, Mansell's triumphantly depressing music has managed this bizarre balancing act. Be warned, though: no amount of reality TV fluff can dim the power of this soundtrack when heard in context. It is truly brutal, brilliant stuff.