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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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A Quick Tip by Gonnawatchit

  • May 18, 2011
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 yearn for a bit more clear-eyed, less sensationalist take.   Ironic that what makes the film stand out and be remembered is, ultimately, what makes it not quite work.  
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May 19, 2011
Loved this movie and felt like it was a kind of mind screw...I own it and haven't seen it in years because you really have to be in the mood for such intensity. Great QT!
May 18, 2011
nice QT!
May 18, 2011
I still have not seen the movie, but if you haven't read the book yet, DO IT. It's good and it's the reason why I'm afraid to watch the movie.
May 18, 2011
I still list this as Aronofsky's greatest film and the best film of 2000, but I understand your criticism. If you're looking for a film that deals with drug addiction in a more realistic way while still showing the downward spiral that addiction causes, you should see the Australian film "Candy" starring Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish, and Geoffrey Rush. It's very similar in the story that it tells, but it's more subtle and lyrical.
May 18, 2011
Hmm...I think I'd take both "Black Swan" and "The Wrestler" over this one. Feels like Aronofsky has learned how to practice some restraint in his later films. "Requiem" is balls to the wall from beginning to end. Thanks for the film recommendation!
May 18, 2011
I'd agree that this film isn't subtle, but that was never its intent. However, I'd also point out that "Black Swan" is Aronofsky's least restrained film. After "The Wrestler", which most critics appreciated while many audiences were baffled by its seemingly simple story, Aronofsky abandoned subtle symbolism and focused far too much on externalized Jungian archetypes (White Swan = albedo, the Anima and Black Swan = Nigredo, the Shadow). For the most part, Aronofsky has shown that he is one of the few directors who can balance themes, story, character, and visuals, but with "Black Swan" there seems to be an imbalance that favors themes and visuals over character or story, which resulted in a very heavy-handed style that undermined the characters and story.
May 18, 2011
Good point - there's nothing restrained or subtle about "Black Swan." Maybe it works, at least for me, because it's an adaptation of a ballet, and the drama in ballet is already so stylized and pitched at such a frenzied dramatic volume. It's true it's not a very human story, or really not much of a story at all. But then, neither is "the Nutcracker." It's all themes and visuals.
May 18, 2011
But don't you think there's a way "Requiem" kind of falls into the "Reefer Madness" pit of making drug abuse look so horrible that it can hardly be real? That was my thought in the final movement - this looks hellish, but my God, anything you filmed like this would look hellish.
May 18, 2011
I think that as Aronofsky stated in the commentary, he wasn't making a film about drug abuse, but about addiction (regardless of whether its to drugs, TV, or an emotion) and how it leads to a downward spiral into chaos and self-destruction (the central recurring theme in all of his films), and he chose to show that downward spiral in a somewhat expressionist manner by using alarming, disorientating camera angles, disonant music, surreal effects, fragmented editing, etc. to do this. I think that your qualms with the film, as you point out, are with the artistic decisions that Aronofsky used to make the film as memorable as it is. Could he have tamed things a bit and perhaps gone for a more realistic portrayal? Sure, but I think considering the source material and his development as a filmmaker at that point, he did what seemed to fit best and I don't think he was making a moralist film to proselytize people against drugs. It's not an advocacy film with an agenda, but a stylistic take on real issues with a perspective that emanates from the characters rather than from the filmmaker. It's a fairly common attempt in many directors' early films.
May 18, 2011
Wow, you really know your Aronofsky! Hats off to you, sir.
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 . 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
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 …
review by . June 29, 2007
Remember the anti-drug commercial where a girl points to an egg, says, "this is your brain," and then screams, "this is your brain on drugs!" as she smashes the egg with a skillet and proceeds to demolish the entire kitchen, screaming, "and this is what drugs do to your family, this is what they do to your future..." and so on? We'll this story does give you that indication but it's so much more.    After watching this I thought it was the most harrowing, unsettling, and yet …
About the reviewer
Willie Krischke ()
Ranked #188
I write reviews for the Durango Telegraph, Indian Life, StudentSoul.org, TheKnifeFight.com, and other publications from time to time.
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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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