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Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, more...
Director: Darren Aronofsky, Darren Aronofsky
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Live/Artisan
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 102 min.
Languages: English
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This title is currently out of print.

Based on the novel by Hubert Selby Jr., this gritty drama concerns four people trapped by their addictions. Harry (Jared Leto), and his best friend Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) are impoverished heroin addicts living in Coney Island, NY, while Harry's girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly) is a fellow addict trying to distance herself from her wealthy father. Harry dreams of scoring a pound of smack, from which he could make enough money to open a clothing boutique with Marion, but so far he and his friends can barely scrape by supporting their own habits. Meanwhile, Harry's mother Sara (Ellen Burstyn), who spends her days watching television, is told she has the opportunity to appear on her favorite game show; wanting to lose enough weight to fit into her favorite red dress, she visits a sleazy doctor who gives her a prescription for amphetamines. Soon Sara has a drug habit of her own that is spiraling out of control. Requiem for a Dream was directed by Darren Aronofsky, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Selby; it was Aronofsky's second feature, following his acclaimed independent film Pi. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Exclusive Interview

Drawing on the roundtable discussion with Darren Aronofsky that Michael Guillén recorded in mid-November, Sara Schieron maps a few possible entryways into the radically independent director's most challenging film yet, The Fountain. Full article >>

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GreenCine Member Reviews

The mother of all downers by Chiend February 10, 2006 - 7:06 PM PST
0 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a new winner. The newest contestant in the "Most Depressing Movie Ever Made" contest goes to the latest vehicle from the avant-garde director of PI, Darren Aronofsky. And when you consider some of the other title-holders of the past, it's quite an accomplishment. In the back seat, you will NOW find such wrist-slitters as ERASERHEAD, I STAND ALONE, THE PAWNBROKER, SOLDIER BLUE, THE DEER HUNTER, THE MUSIC LOVERS, and any others you might want to add. It makes Ingmar Bergman's CRIES AND WHISPERS look like a Marx Brothers movie. What begins as a heavy drama with light comic touches degenerates into a relentless attack on the senses as it drags us down into the depths of hell our main characters have immersed themselves in and leaves us there to reflect on their tragedies. It was once commonplace for a film depicting the disintegration of the human spirit to offer at least SOMETHING to the human soul, but REQUIEM FOR A DREAM has set a new standard. It's Archie Bunker with cancer. It's Bill Cosby with a brain tumor, or The Fonz pushing junk in the streets. It's Shirley Temple on a bad acid trip. This is not a film depicting the evils of drug addiction as you may have heard. It's about desperation in its many forms and the lengths our characters will go to as a means of escape. Unfortunately, it is way too depressing to enjoy no matter how much you respect the director's intentions.
And speaking of the director's intentions, I have a special special request for Mr. Aronofsky: Give up on the split-screen montage! That idea went out with Robert Aldrich a long time ago. If that's the only creative direction a bigger budget leads you in, stick to your poverty row black and white style instead!

i love this film by scarabin November 5, 2005 - 6:20 AM PST
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
so many things work together to make this film amazing. a great book adaptation, outstanding actors, (successful) experimental editing, groundbreaking score, gritty topic, everything.

i'm a big fan of not only hubert selby, jr (i have a signed first edition copy of this book) and darren aranofsky, but of composer clint mansell as well.

the OST is great in its own right... clint mansell released a requiem remix album about a year after the movie's release, and it's fantastic as well.

definitely give this film a rent.

Brace yourself... by figtree April 6, 2005 - 5:59 PM PDT
3 out of 5 members found this review helpful
Even for a hardened, jaded film viewer, it's only fair to warn that this film may evoke:

* having brain surgery with rusty implements,

* watching someone (okay, four someones) skin themselves,

* or finding out what 'catharsis' really means, the (very) hard way.

But, if that leaves you undeterred, on the plus side:

* the editing is absolutely state of the art,

* the soundtrack is an artistic and technical achievement in its own right,

* the acting is some of the best each actor has ever done,

* and the storytelling, characterization and camerawork are a quantum leap forward from the already harrowingly impressive 'Pi'.

There is no way our current ratings system can quantify this movie. I would rather that a high school student saw this NC-17 movie unedited than watched any standard R-rated brainless actioner with a sky-high body count.

To call this film 'anti-drug' is much too simple. What this movie really opposes, in thematic layer after thematic layer, is everything that erodes the capacity for self-determination, from television brainwashing to unethical doctors to racist ganglords.

This is-- there is no question about it-- one of the most disturbing films you may ever see. But this movie, imitating its characters, loves life, even its awful dreary dark twisted moments, too intensely to look away.

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