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Requiem for a Dream
Year:
2000
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama
IMDB rating:
8.4
Director:
Darren Aronofsky
Ellen Burstyn as Sara Goldfarb
Jared Leto as Harry Goldfarb
Jennifer Connelly as Marion Silver
Marlon Wayans as Tyrone C. Love
Christopher McDonald as Tappy Tibbons
Janet Sarno as Mrs. Pearlman
Suzanne Shepherd as Mrs. Scarlini
Joanne Gordon as Mrs. Ovadia
Charlotte Aronofsky as Mrs. Miles
Mark Margolis as Mr. Rabinowitz
Michael Kaycheck as Donut Cop (as Mike Kaycheck)
Jack O'Connell as Corn Dog Stand Boss
Storyline: Drugs. They consume mind, body and soul. Once you're hooked, you're hooked. Four lives. Four addicts. Four failures. Despite their aspirations of greatness, they succumb to their addictions. Watching the addicts spiral out of control, we bear witness to the dirtiest, ugliest portions of the underworld addicts reside in. It is shocking and eye-opening but demands to be seen by both addicts and non-addicts alike.
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Reviews
Maybe I missed something, but I just was not impressed.
Well, if the purpose of the movie was to make me feel absolutely awful and grossed out, the movie was a ten. However, I was looking for a little more about why the characters were doing what they were doing. What drives people to start down a path and never turn off it no matter how bad it gets? I would prefer to see that explored instead of this ode to "oh pitiful me in a my world of despair that I just can not get out of".
2001-09-30
The ultimate "art as pain" movie.
If you subscribe to the masochistic belief that great art must be painful, then by all means, see Requiem for a Dream. If, on the other hand, you'd rather not spend 2 hours having Aronofsky pick at you like a scab, skip it. The director's intention is clearly to upset you, give you a headache, and instill in you a hatred of addictive behavior. He succeeds marvelously.

Wayans, in the closing sequence of the film, vomits into a bucket of some white viscous somethingorother he's stirring.

That about sums up my reaction to Requiem for a Dream.
2002-05-29
The film-making quality is secondary- this film makes you FEEL
Often hype about films lead to disappointment and after waiting 14 months after release for my local cinema to show this film, I was done thinking about it. Thank goodness too, rather than challenge my brain (not hard to do unfortunately) this film went straight for the heart, ripped it out and kicked it around the floor for 90 minutes. As the addictions plunged further into the depths of Hell, I felt myself more and more arrested by the film. I've never left a film shaking or feeling physically ill- not including Pearl Harbour, of course :) You want to look away, but cannot.

This movie is by no means flawless, but then again I would like to hope that the flaws add to the gritty reality of the film. The ending was truly the most frightening thing I have ever seen in film- forget the cheap scares of The Exorcist, Psycho and the endless bile of the 'slasher flick', this stuff is REAL.

In a country amid a 'war against drugs' this is a powerful film which could do more to turn kids away from drugs than any measly government "task-force" or classroom lecture.
2001-06-18
R-Rated Afterschool Special
Hollywood's gratuitous attempt at an anti-drug message showcases an array of characters (you're bound to relate to one of them) in a this-is-your-brain, this-is-your-brain-on-drugs kind of way.

You watch it and think, hey if I was and so-and-so, my-brain-not-on-drugs was the way to go!

However, if you have any remote sense of logic, then you don't actually have to endure the film to figure that out.

There's a gritty, depersonalizing element to the film which adds style and extreme worst-case-scenario scares, but overall, it's got that afterschool special obviousness - drugs are bad!

When it's over, you expect the guy with the eggs and frying pan to lurch out and say, "Any questions?"
2006-04-13
Nonsensical nonsense that has no point.
I was told by several people that this was an excellent movie. I watched the entire film (just to give it a fair chance) and it was a depressing view of drug culture. It gave non-junkies nothing to grasp on to. Often excellent movies do not have a easily definable message, but they seem to offer insight into the human condition. This movie had none. This movie is only "cool" because someone somewhere said it was.
2002-04-05
Shattering expose of the fallible human condition.
What to say about Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream that hasn't been said already? Without doubt it's a film, that in spite of its high standing on the main movie sites, polarises opinions. It's a film that in simple terms follows four people through their addictions until the shattering denouement, but the journey is made more bleak by offering tantalising snatches of hope, the dreams of the protags offered up as some sort of goals for the addicts to cling on to - only for the narrative to stick in its rusty serrated blade to draw the lifeblood from the hapless hopefuls.

Arononfsky brings a multitude of technical skills to the party that emphasise the emotional discord on show. Standard split-screening is married up with rapid cutting, isolated framing, close ups, long tracking and Snorricam, all of which is sound tracked by Clint Mansell's haunting musical composition. All told it's an assault on all the senses and terrifying with it, boosted no end by Aronofsky getting top performances from his cast of actors. Love it or hate it, it's a film that simply can't be ignored, unsparing cinema produced by a most gifted director. 9/10
2015-06-13
Mind numbing!
It seems that most people either hate or love this movie. I do both.

Yes, it did make me feel numb for the past hours and it IS a powerful movie the first time you watch it.

For me, the true power of this movie lies in the shock value. What I mean by that is that they throw so many awful things in your face time over and over again and it just gets worse and worse and worse. Your brain gets kind of "uhm...oh...wow". It didn't make me think. It made my brain numb.

If you really look deep in to it though, you'll not find much other than the message that "Drugs are bad, just look how awful these people's lives has turned out!". There's not much more to it. The characters don't really have any deep struggles (other than drugs of course), at least not that we see. They are pretty one dimensional.

In the end, I didn't really feel sympathy for them per se, because they didn't really tell me anything other than "wow...oh...this is just awful" and they where just so incredibly pathetic, the whole lot.

On one hand, I hate this movie for making my brain numb and removing my thinking, and by that ignoring that this movie ISN'T that deep. It'll make you it is, but really isn't.

Once again, it's the shock value. This is really thanks to the whole feeling of the movie and the way it's filmed and the lovely soundtrack it has! It's really powerful, but there is not much behind it.

The acting is good.

I give this movie a 5 out of 10, just because it's so impressive how the movie affected me.
2011-01-29
No Future At All
Requiem For A Dream is one of the most depressing films I've ever seen in my life. These poor people from two generations are a lot like Anthony Quinn in Requiem For A Heavyweight. As a boxer Quinn in that film saw his career at an end and faced a very unpromising future. These people have no future at all.

I certainly recognized the Coney Island/Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn, an area of projects and an amusement area that has seen better days. Like Atlantic City, some in Coney Island eventually see casino gambling as the gimmick for a rebirth. If you see Requiem For A Dream, imagine it in that kind of Las Vegas type setting.

At one time Brighton Beach was a template for a working class Jewish paradise of sort with families housed in apartments that partially built with the backing of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Back when I was doing senior citizens crime claims at New York State Crime Victims Board, I can't tell you the number of claims from men and women who listed a small ILGWU pension as part of their income from that area. Such a woman is Ellyn Burstyn playing Sara Goldfarb.

Things haven't gone right for her. As the neighborhood decayed, so did her life and family. Her one son Jared Leto, a promising kid at one time is now a hopeless addict with an addict girlfriend in Jennifer Connelly and an addict best friend in Marlon Wayans.

I've known a few junkies in my time also. After a while they only have one thing on their mind, their particular addiction of choice and how to service it. Even if they want to rise in the dope trade business, they haven't got a head for business any longer.

Which in a nutshell is the position of Leto and Wayans with Connelly in support figuring her own habit can be taken care of by following their lead. Of course its disaster all around.

As for Ellyn Burstyn she gained Requiem For A Dream's only Academy Award recognition with a nomination for Best Actress. She's not just clueless about her son, she's caught up in her own chemical dependency. She dreams of her 10 minutes of fame on some daytime quiz show and gets herself nicely hooked on diet pills. Unlike her son, she does have some memories of better days and talks about them with her peers on the benches outside the apartments.

I recognized a lot of the Brighton Beach/Coney Island area of Brooklyn where this was all shot on location. Requiem For A Dream is a sad film about sad people, definitely one to bring you down from any kind of high you might be on.
2010-05-05
Killer Performances by Ellen Burstyn...Darren Aronofsky: Stanley Kubrik has called for you to pull up a chair!
Oh my, where shall I begin? Experimental film making bursts into mainstream in this dramatic tail of 4 people who find themselves spiraling down the abyss, after experiencing a rendez-vous with the inevitable consequences attributed to drug use and the ill effect it has on its addicts. This one has no happy ending. There's no sugar coating here. Albeit this film packs a harsh, blunt, and sometimes overwhelmingly genuine depiction of the havoc drug addiction can reap on its victims. Despite the disturbing message of the film, I never the less couldn't help but remain fascinated with it's experimental/avant-guard visual style: A smooth, elaborate and languid progression of cinematic eye candy orchestrated to almost resemble a shockumentary, complemented by an impressive and well composed soundtrack. Some of the visual techniques were similar to the ones Aronofsky used in his directorial debut "Pi", such as split-screen shots and the use of body cameras filmed at varying speeds. At times, the film seemed more like an acid trip than a feature film. A cry for help is clearly felt throughout the film, from its innocent and promising start, to its hauntingly chilling conclusion. The one scene that really blew me away was the scene where Marion (played by Jennifer Connelley) had just sold her body off for a bag of heroin...As she walks out the door of the apartment, along the corridor, into the elevator, down to the street: one can't help but feel the characters disgust with herself, filthy to the core, what it must feel like at..."ZERO". The acting performances, especially by both Ellyn Burstyn and Marlon Wayans are simply breakthrough performances that earned critical acclaim across the board. Enough said. If this review alone does not compel you to experience the Film, I will just have to spell it out: PLEASE EXPERIENCE THIS FILM - it may cause an uneasy stomach, but is well worth it - YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!!! 11 out of 10.
2001-08-27
Brilliantly awful
I don't really know how to explain this film, so maybe it will come to me in this review.

The film is shown from the perspective of 4 drug users as they spiral into a mental dystopia. All seeking a better life, aided by drugs, they fall into a state of insanity, demonstrated by a great use of film techniques.

Despite the sophisticated film work, I found watching 'Requiem for a Dream' about as pleasurable as having a pigeon with diarrhoea land on my face. The story... goes nowhere. I spent a good 97 minutes wondering when something was going to happen. There was quite a few 'look at the clock' moments. And as the film progressed I found myself feeling increasingly uncomfortable. The finale was so painful, I was dying for the film to finish, as i was bombarded with obnoxious noise, and a montage of obscene nasty outcomes for each character. I could sense the other people in the room feeling the same, but perhaps slightly less tolerant than me. I was really hoping they didn't think I was enjoying myself.

There was a large portion of the film spent of character development, and were supposed to appeal to different members of the audience as an attempt to cause a bigger impact as you watch their lives deteriorate, however, the characters were so dis-likable i didn't want to even look at them.

The whole thing was basically an hour and a half of saying "Drugs are bad", which i think they made quite clear. The film may have been more effective if it had been condensed into about 10 minutes and placed between a plot.

You can tell that it's supposed leave you in a state of amazement, feeling disturbed and changed by the images you have just witnessed, which in many cases probably worked, explaining the amount of credibility it received. However, I have imagined things 10 times more horrible, and I can't think of a reason why i would want to share them with the general public.

In summary: Very well executed, but i do believe in the saying "You can't polish a turd"

The only thing i got out of it was the ability to read clocks in the dark.
2008-02-04
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