33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unspeakably powerful
I can honestly say this is the only film i have seen that had the power to change my thinking and outlook on life. Ever since i first saw it the characters, imagery and emotion of the piece have remained with me. Every aspect of this film is a triumph. Each of the four leading actors are stupendous and in my view both Connelly and especially Burstyn were robbed of oscars...
Published on 15 July 2002
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars There is such a thing as too much misery
I saw The Wrestler and absolutely loved it: the humour, the pity, the struggle. So I followed Aronofsky back to his younger days. This is a young man's film in that it's extreme. It's a stylish depiction of addiction, but I don't think it's actually that clever to go in for such brutal storytelling. Life is always complex. Trainspotting managed to show how one character...
Published on 10 July 2009 by William Cohen
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unspeakably powerful,
By A Customer
I can honestly say this is the only film i have seen that had the power to change my thinking and outlook on life. Ever since i first saw it the characters, imagery and emotion of the piece have remained with me. Every aspect of this film is a triumph. Each of the four leading actors are stupendous and in my view both Connelly and especially Burstyn were robbed of oscars that were rightfully theirs.
There are many great films, but what separates the great from the truly great are those that are completely unique, as is this one. I purchased this dvd on a limb and unsure what to expect, but from the outset the picture showed me a new cinematic language in its montage imagery, pacing, editing and what is surely one of the most brutally moving scores ever composed.
Aside from these, the film is unique in its honesty. Yes it is supremely dark in its subject matter and climax and thank god for it. For too long Hollywood has felt the need to produce pleasant, hopeful comfort film and neglected from portraying what is in many cases the unpleasant reality of life for so many people. In the real world lives get messed up and they dont always get better, sometimes they stay messed up, and finally we have a director, writer and studio prepared to admit this. The result is a film that many will reject and despise, because it challenges the shell that protects us and our enclosed existence from the reality of what is all around us, but a film that ought to be experienced, and treasured by those who appreciate what makes a great film.
To see 'requiem for a dream' is draining, exhausting and exhilarating, but it is not depressing. Several times i have watched this picture and found myself strangely uplifted, a downbeat emotion that very few films have ever aroused in me. You will not so much 'watch' this film as experience it and its power. It is a brief but heightened assault on the senses, and with brilliant acting, scripting, characterisation, imagery, poetic narrative and musical force, modern films come no better than this.
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Requiem for a Dream,
I found this DVD as a recommendation whilst searching for others and liked the sound of the reviews so I thought I would give it a go. I like a film to leave me with something and Requiem for a Dream certainly did this. Its fantastic, shocking, compelling, exicting and drepressing all at the same time. Its very well acted, espeically Ellen Burstyn's performance as a mother neglected by her drug addicted son with an addiction to television and eventually her own drug, dodgy diet pills. The visuals are amazing, they draw you in like a bad dream and the ending left me with a lump in my throat which I kept pondering for days. I would recommend this film to anyone however, would warn that if you are easily distrubed proceed with caution. Amazing!
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but never again!!,
I was lent this movie by a friend who had watched it and recently bought it. As soon as I put it on I was absolutely at the mercy of this unflinching onslaught of a movie. It is brilliantly written, directed and acted. It wishes to hit home the dangers of drugs, both hard and even more socially acceptable ones. It did its job with visceral zeal and after the credits rolled, I felt completely wrung out emotionally. I think it is a fantastic film and one I never wish to see again. I don't need to, I got the message! Incidentally, my friend and I were talking about a list, published by some film institute, of great movies that you would only want to see once, and I said immediately that I bet Requiem was on it. He laughed and said it was around number 3 and actually come to mention it, he hadn't watched it once after buying it. Here endeth the lesson.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nightmares Come True,
My god. Where to start with this? Darren Aronofsky's follow up to indie hit Pi could be one of the most brilliant and emotional films ever. Aronofsky has managed to adapt Hubert Selby Jr's magnanimous novel to the big screen - and he's done a superb job of it.
The cast is amazing. Ellen Burstyn's TV addicted, speed taking mother was robbed of an Oscar by Julia Roberts' frumpy, irritating Erin Brokovich. She gives one of the most emotional performances you will ever see, her passionate monologue about what it's like to be old, and her paranoid acting makes you truly believe that acting is an art. Jared Leto, as her drug addicted son, also gives very worthy performance as does Jennifer Connely as his girlfriend. Marlon Wayans, too, delivers an amazing and serious performance that belies his slapstick comedy notoriety.
But this is a director's film; Aronofsky pulls out every directing trick in the book to make this a truly original experience. The shot of an overjoyed Sara Goldfarb as she runs out of her apartment and walks across the street with her old female friends as the camera swoons in front of them, creating a strangely eerie shot is one example. But it is the editing that shines, Aronofsky never leaves the viewer board with his unique style of hiphop montage editing and special effects.
The music in this film also shines, the classical score is wonderfully composed and highly dramatic in a film which demands it so heavily.
Although disturbing, this is a film that everyone should see, it is full of great acting, editing and truly memorable story.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete masterpiece,
This is one hell of a bleak film, but as long as you can watch it (some people I know couldn’t sit through it), it is an absolute masterpiece. It’s an adaption of a book by Hubert Selby Jr. about the various addictions of four people (an elderly widow, her son, his girlfriend and his best friend) , be they to drugs, television, or even the hope of a better tomorrow, in Brooklyn, New York. So far, so Trainspotting you might think. However, the two films are actually very different, not least in terms of visual style. In this aspect, Requiem For A Dream is streets ahead of it’s British counterpart. The director Darren Aronofsky, a native of Brooklyn himself, has done a first class job here, using a variety of different techniques, including split screens, time lapse photography and speeded up montages. In the commentary on the DVD, he said he wanted to avoid making an MTV-style film, but that’s what it looks like. This is by no means a criticism, though, the film looks absolutely fantastic, but I see no sense in denying its style.
As well as the superb cinematography, the film also contains some superb performances from its four stars Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn, Jennifer Connolly and Marlon Wayans. Indeed, Burstyn was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, though she didn’t win. It is also nice to see Leto in a role where he has more to do than look handsome.
This film is not one to watch when you are feeling a bit down, as it is not in the least bit cheery. I promise it will make you feel worse, as it is heartbreakingly sad to see the lives of the protagonists completely unravelling before their eyes, whilst they keep believing things are soon going to get better. Things don’t get better, they reach rock bottom for all of the characters. No redemption, no happy ending, just one of the best films of the last ten years. Absolutely essential.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bleak is the word,
requiem for a dream is a bleak and harrowing film,i think those that have seen it all agree,while trainspotting dealt with drugs and destruction ut also has a comical side,requiem doesnt go down that road at all and in return is a far better film than trainspotting,in truth its one of the greats of all time.
The film features four main characters,sara played by ellen burstyn,her son in the movie,harry played by jared leto,his girlfriend marion,played by jennifer connelly and their friend tyrone played by marlon wayans.All four characters lives descend into madness due to an addiction,the character of sara is addicted to tv and is under the spell in a way of an advertisement that is repeated constantly about losing weight so when sara believes that she is to appear on a game show her mind is consumed with fitting into an old red dress,so she diets and when that doesnt work,visits a dodgy doctor who prescribes her with pills which may or may not be illegal and in time she becomes addicted and has delusions that lead her down a road she cant return from.
Meanwhile harry,marion and tyrone are all battling with heroin and life for them seems good at first,the film shows the joys of it at first and then spins it on its head until a very ugly finale where everyone is destroyed one way of another.
The films use of editing and camera work is key here,there are long tracking shots with the camera attached to the actors which give the film a messy feel and this works as the characters fall into madness and insanity,fanstasy is used as escapism but the reality returns and darkens,this is not a joyful movie,devoid of a happy ending and american smiles,this of course means that not everyone will appreciate but the performances,the soundtrack,the style of film making and the idea is second to few,stunning,needs to be seen,it will affect you.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb,
This is an intelligent film. The score has emerged as one of the most recognisable pieces of music of our age, and is subtley changed in a minimalistic style throughout the film. IT IS NOT REPEATED. Anyone thinking this and finding themselves irritated by it should really pay a little more attention.
The film isn't so much about the 'drugs are bad' issue. Requiem for a Dream concentrates more on characters linked together by their use of drugs - both illegal and legal substances.
The film has some brilliant and poignantly designed sets, that are really used to their best potential by some magnificent acting. Leto delivers an almost flawless performance, and is to be commended for avoiding the 'puppy-dog-eyes-help-me-i'm-doing-my-best' stance.
In fact, my copy was borrowed months ago, and has never been returned...
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The horrors of addiction....,
Requiem for a Dream shows the terrible effects of drug addiction on a boy and his mother, living in a run down neighbourhood on Coney Island.
The boy, his friend and girlfriend are junkies, resorting to petty crime in order to get their fixes. The mother becomes addicted to slimming pills after mistakenly believing she had been invited to be a contestant on her favourite game show. Living on her own with nothing else to occupy her mind, she becomes obsessed with fitting into a particular red dress in time for the show. Sadly, she is the only person who cannot see that she is the victim of a hoax. The boy has his own ambition; to buy a large supply of heroin and get rich dealing. We have seen stories like his on films like Trainspotting and the Basketball Diaries but Requiem for a Dream is interesting because it shows the downward spiral of mother and son simultaneously. He is eventually arrested along with his friend, leaving his girlfriend to resort to prostitution to feed her growing habit. His mother gradually loses all touch with reality and becomes a gibbering wreck. There is no happy ending for any of the characters. We see the boy's infected needle tracks in his arm worsen whilst his girlfriend subjects herself to the ultimate degradation. Meanwhile his mother is carted off to a psychatric facility to spend the rest of her days drooling and imagining her gameshow appearance.
It's a very depressing film but beautifully shot and acted. The hallucinatory visuals are hard to take in sometimes but it makes for a very effective tale on the horrors of drug addiction.
Like this? Try: Spun
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Police Academy 8: Narcs Get High,
By A Customer
If you thought the sight of Jennifer Connelly getting it on naked with a double-headed dildo could never be repellent, then let me introduce you to a whole new experience...
And if the cinema reviews of "Requiem for a Dream" were agreed on two things, they were that it was stymied from the beginning by its outdated and unsubtle source material, and that the last twenty minutes are hard to watch and impossible to enjoy.
Yet what recommends the film is the fact that despite the stomach-churning closing sequences, it is not only compelling but impossible to tear yourself away from (and, incidentally, never as painful and unsettling as his debut "Ð"), and that despite its apparently two-dimensional moralising, it remains with you longer afterward than any film since perhaps "Magnolia."
It is certainly a measure of Aronofsky's high-minded approach that although he has cinema's sexiest couple at his disposal in Connelly and Jared Leto, he never trades on their looks and the only nudity is non-sexual. Indeed one of his greatest achievements in the film is making the golden couple appear increasingly grotesque as their fall progresses. Connelly in particular echoes Roald Dahl's Mrs. Twit, whose ugly thoughts over time, you may recall, began to show on her face until she became so ugly you could hardly bear to look at her. But "The Twits" never did brave that dildo sequence...
All the lead performances are flawless, and Ellen Burstyn was rightly nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Leto's mother. When a director and actor come together so well you get infinitely memorable moments like Burstyn's beaky, wrinkled face peering with confusion around the room at the edge of a fish-eye lens. Horrible. What's most astonishing on viewing the film again, though, is that "Requiem for a Dream" clearly marks out Aronofsky as the natural successor to Stanley Kubrick (and isn't it nice that we had only to wait two years?), with his fastidious attention to frame composition, his delight in colour, his careful use of a brilliant score, and of course, most tellingly, the sense of something missing in the heart region...
This brings us back to what the some didn't like about it, and with these concerns taken into account, the film itself probably only deserves four stars. I'm giving this package five though, as the DVD gives it a whole new dimension (though not the one the critics were looking for). The extras are simply the best I have ever seen on a single disc set, and, crucially, now you can program your DVD player to run the chapters backwards, and give the lovely Jennifer and Jared the happy ending they deserve.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horrifying,
Requiem for a Dream tracks the lives of four central characters: a young boy, his girlfriend, his mother and his best friend/partner in crime. The boy uses heroin, dope and coke; the girlfriend and best friend similarly. The mother is retired and spends all day watching gameshows.
Initially, the film showcases them as beautiful, hopeful people, illuminating their quiet moments and their deepest desires. Then, they begin to plan and make tracks: the girlfriend's habit grows stronger, making her dependent on the boy, who in the meantime is trying to amass money with his friend to buy a kilo of pure. The mother has received a typical bogus offer to appear on the gameshow she constantly watches and is trying to lose weight, eventually resorting to pills prescribed by a private doctor.
An interesting parallel begins to emerge between the mother's shut-in lifestyle and son's high-octane street one: both prisoners, both addicts, and both clinging to dreams that start to slip through their fingers.
Things quickly go wrong in a hellish downward spiral: the mother becomes addicted to the pills, and begins hallucinating (her doctors are apathetic and ignore her); the boy and his friend get arrested, the former with a heavily infected arm; the girlfriend resorts to prostitution in his absence to get money for her fixes. It goes further and further down this line, and there is no happy ending.
It's not a bad film, though. True, it will probably make you cry or vomit, but the camerawork is superb, the acting utterly believable, and the erosion of their lives is perfectly choreographed, growing more and more frantic and culminating in a head-spinning whirl of mortifying images from each character's personal hell. It's assisted by brilliant music, semi-orchestral, semi-techno filler that grows more discordant and confused as the characters' lives do. It's a winning effect.
So, while not a film you'll watch twice (unless you're a sucker for punishment), it's a film you should really see once. It captures the futility and corruption of drug addiction, street crime and prostitution in a way that makes Snatch look like Cinderella. Just don't recommend it to anyone who's overly sensitive or young.
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Requiem for a Dream [Blu-ray] by Darren Aronofsky (Blu-ray - 2011)