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Requiem for a Dream

Darren Aronofsky's controversial and critically acclaimed 2000 film adaptation of Hubert Selby, Jr.'s novel.

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Requiem for a Dream - addiction is the operative word

  • Jun 3, 2001
  • by
Pros: Scary, intense, addicting

Cons: sometimes too intense

The Bottom Line: I'm addicted to Pepsi and I sometimes wonder if I'll end up on the edge like these people :(

Be excited .... be, be excited ..... be excited ..... be, be, excited!

Whoa skippy - what a trip! Staid and proper Jewish mother, Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burnstyn) is a plump and lonely widow living in Brooklyn in a run down brownstone along with her plump friends. They sit on the sidewalk in front of their ramshackle apartment, fanning themselves and catching some rays. Sara has an addiction - she loves food and TV. Game shows, wheeler-dealers, soaps, dramas, movies, family shows, evangelists, schemers, dreamers and high rollers. Sara has a dream. She also has a son.

Sara's son, Harry (Jared Leto), age undetermined, lives in a dive somewhere near Coney Island. He's a bum and is just looking for his next deal. He's a stoner, a loser, a nondescript n'er-do-well. He's a pusher, a shooter, a tripper, a smoker, a high-flying scum bag. Harry has an addiction - snort, crack, smack, pot, sniff, coke, heroin. But, Harry has a friend and Harry has a dream.

Harry's friend, Tyrone (Marion Wayans) is two steps below a low-life. He's Harry's mate, buddy, partner, fellow dreamer. He and Harry are waiting for that score, that big fish, that huge rip-off - looking for that pound of pure they can cut and sell and be sitting large. Tyrone has an addiction - snort, crack, smack, pot, sniff, coke, heroin. A loser on a losing trail. But Tyrone has a dream.

Harry also has a girlfriend, Marion (Jennifer Connelly). Perfect rich girl playing on the wrong side of town. Scheming and dreaming and living on the edge. With her blue fingernails and snow white teeth, creamy skin and clear blue eyes. Snappy dresses and killer attitude. Marion is a designer, Marion has a dream, Marion can open a dress shop ..... but Marion also has Harry and Harry has Tyrone and they all have an addiction.

Finally the day comes, Sara gets a phone call that she will appear on TV! Wonder of wonders - she will be on TV for all to see and all to love ..... but Sara has been in love way too long with chocolates. She wants to get that sausage body back into that pretty red dress she wore eons ago, but the casing is way too small for that sausage.

Sara goes to a doctor and gets her hands on some diet pills - whoa Nellie - Sara is bursting with energy. She's flying, she's trying, she's cleaning, she's beaming ...... now Sara has a new addiction - SPEED! Yippee skippy, Sara's on a whirl, Sara is the girl, Sara is a jittery glittery spinning grinning psycho!

Sure, the boys get the smack and make the score - they bank their money, they snort their profits, they fly, they buy, they live, they give .... on, on, on, on, oops ...... OUT! The well dries up, the coffer is empty, they ain't got zippity-do-da! They head South and poor Marion heads south too, mentally and physically - why not be a hooker if you want to be a cooker?

We got four people on the edge. On they edge ..... honey, they are so far OVER the edge, the edge can't even be seen anymore. A damn scary movie!

Sitting on the sidelines
First I gotta say - am I glad I missed that whole drug scene in the ‘60's! And I'm glad I never resorted to diet pills. Had I done either, I would have run like a striped-assed ape after seeing this movie!

This movie, directed by Darren Aronofsky, uses about every camera technique imaginable! Zooms, snap shots, cuts, flips, fish-eye lens, cut backs and close ups. It is a dizzy affect that has you as edgy as the participants in the movie by the end. I was so jittery after watching it I couldn't sit still for half an hour. As weird as it was, I enjoyed the effects anyway. Creepy but cool!

Poor Sara was a treat to watch, all hepped up on her speed, flying around but Lordy, does she freak out! And the sound effects used through out the movie were fantastic - lids on pill bottles popping, snorting coke, water dripping, roaring refrigerators, telephones, sirens - intense.

There ain't nothing pretty about the movie. It's a dirty world with dirty sets and dirty ideas. Hard and edgy and the ending knocks you right out of your seat!

Everybody has an addiction, what's yours?

Starring Ellen Burnstyn (Academy Award nomination for the part), Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marion Wayans & Louise Lasses. Written by Darren Aronofsky & Hubert Selby, Jr. Directed by Darren Aronofsky. ....... exhausting!

Susi :)


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More Requiem for a Dream reviews
review by . January 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
***1/2 out of ****     Darren Aronofsky's "Requiem for a Dream" asks the question: what is a drug? After watching this film, I just don't know how to provide a proper answer. Such an intense experience leaves you feeling drained; and I've been finding that a lot lately with Aronofsky's films in particular. Don't worry; it's a good kind of drained that I'm feeling; the kind you get from staring too much at too many things. "Requiem" has so much going on that it's almost overwhelming, …
Quick Tip by . May 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I can see what all the fuss is about, and why this movie still gets talked about more than a decade after its release.  Aronofsky pulls out all the stops, and this is one of the most relentlessly directed movies I've seen in a long time.   It's effective, but in a weird, kind of converse way.   Addiction looks terrible, yes, but getting a haircut would look pretty hellish if Aronofsky filmed and cut it the way he did the final twenty minutes of this film.  It made me …
Quick Tip by . February 21, 2011
Schools should drop the D.A.R.E. program and just show this film to fifth-graders. They'd never do drugs.
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
One of the most terrifying and provacative stories I have seen about the destructive power of addiction, and the many forms that that can take when we give ourselves over to pleasure and abandon purpose.
Quick Tip by . June 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
An absolute masterpiece of the modern cinema, Darren Aronofsky's dark meditation on themes of addiction, desperation, and self-destruction is one of the most important films of the new millennium. A brilliantly directed and acted film with an incredible score by Clint Mansell and the Kronos Quartet.
Quick Tip by . July 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Shows how addictions can appear in many different ways, and how it can affect your life. Such an amazing and powerful film.
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Wow. Powerful. Disturbing. And proved Marlon Wayan can do more than just crappy movies w/ his brothers.
Quick Tip by . January 21, 2010
posted in Screen Gems
A stark film that looks deep into the human psyche and really shows the downward spiral of addiction with an unflinching eye. Terrific film!
review by . November 13, 2008
Requiem For A Dream
Requiem is one of those little known movies, quietly powerful, that will leave you reeling with emotion in its wake. Even unfeeling husks like myself will not escape unscathed.     This is a beautifully mastered film about drug addiction, but not in standard, drugs-are-bad format. Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto) is a junkie who dreams of being a better person but still regularly hawks his mother's battered TV set for fix money. He and his friend Tyrone Love (Marlon Wayans) and girlfriend …
review by . December 17, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Performances, cinematic style, and story line despite the mood      Cons: None for me, but the very bleak nature of it will turn many off      The Bottom Line: There are films with unpleasant things to say but that need saying. Requiem should be near the top of this imaginary list.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.      There have been more than a hundred reviews …
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Susi Dawson ()
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Employing shock techniques and sound design in a relentless sensory assault,Requiem for a Dreamis about nothing less than the systematic destruction of hope. Based on the novel by Hubert Selby Jr., and adapted by Selby and director Darren Aronofsky, this is undoubtedly one of the most effective films ever made about the experience of drug addiction (both euphoric and nightmarish), and few would deny that Aronofsky, in following his breakthrough filmPi, has pushed the medium to a disturbing extreme, thrusting conventional narrative into a panic zone of traumatized psyches and bodies pushed to the furthest boundaries of chemical tolerance. It's too easy to call this a cautionary tale; it's a guided tour through hell, with Aronofsky as our bold and ruthless host.

The film focuses on a quartet of doomed souls, but it's Ellen Burstyn--in a raw and bravely triumphant performance--who most desperately embodies the downward spiral of drug abuse. As lonely widow Sara Goldfarb, she invests all of her dreams in an absurd self-help TV game show, jolting her bloodstream with diet pills and coffee while her son Harry (Jared Leto) shoots heroin with his best friend Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) and slumming girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly). They're careening toward madness at varying speeds, and Aronofsky tracks this gloomy process by endlessly repeating the imagery of their deadly routines. Tormented by her dietary regime, Sara even imagines a carnivorous refrigerator in one...

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Director: Darren Aronofsky
Genre: Drama
Release Date: October 6, 2000
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 1hr 42min
Studio: Artisan Entertainment
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