Requiem for a Dream Reviews
This is based on a novel by co-screenwriter Hubert Selby, Jr. and the loose plot of this uber tragic saga chronicles a lonely widow's growing dependence on amphetamines and a self-help television show, and how it parallels the struggles of her son, his girlfriend, and his best friend, all of whom are junkies. In the case of the trio, even though they use drugs, they are primarily relying on distribution as a means to helping them finance a business they want to open. With the widow, her addictions stem out of a desire to look pretty and slim when she finds out she'll be on her favorite television program.
This film is extremely painful to watch, but damn-near impossible to avert one's eyes from. It's extremely intense, harrowing, and the best depiction of the true, unflinching, and hellish effects of the grips of drug addiction that I've ever seen,. The whole controversy over why the censored version exists is stupid, because a film like this doesn't need to be censored, because the message of the film is (slightly) tarnished. The R-rated 'edited' version is slightly cut, but cut nevertheless. The audience still gets the point, but that's still not an excuse to unflinchingly and graphically depict how much ruin drugs cause. Not watching this film (any version, but especially the unrated) is an unforgivable crime.
I'll admit that the film is light on character development and plot, but what really makes sells this film are the strong performances from Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans, the latter being a nice surprise. There's also supporting appearances from Christopher McDonald, Louise Lasser, Keith David, and Dylan Baker. Another reason this film is so successful, influential, and important are the strong direction from Darren Aronofsky, and the sharp editing, and of course, the cinematography, complete with lots of snorricam, fast and slo-motion, various types of lenses, filters, and numerous montages. There's also that really memorable, and now oft-used music from Clint Mansell with support from the Kronos Quartet.
Okay, so yeah, I've praised this film a lot. I'll admit though that it's not perfect. Even with the uncut version, this film is such a downer you don't want to watch it often. I think it would be possible to do that, but who would want to? This is probably one of the most tragic films I've ever seen. And, while I can appreciate how the film really puts you in the mindset of someone in the hazy and frenzied grips of addiction, it's also rather pretentious, fairly repetitive, and rather jarring with how unsubtle it is.
In the end though, I gotta go with my gut and say that, despite my gripes, and the fact that this film is already praised enough, it really is a gem, and a damn important one.
Great Impressive Film! "Requiem for a Dream" is not a movie for everyone. It is the essence of independent film making, a daring, engrossing, artful film that stays with you long after you finish seeing it. The cinematography of Matthew Libatique gives total light on the characterizations of the people inhabiting Aronofsky's sick world, from the silently flickering sick-green fluorescent to the exaggerated wide angle shots and the beautifully sad and haunting Coney Island picturesque of the pier which suggests a certain beauty amidst all the sadness and depravity. The direction of Aronofsky, brilliant, beautiful, empathic. There are not enough words to describe his direction or this film and I think the best way to say it is that I am speechless. Aronofsky has shown me that, jaded by so many films, something can still prompt me to sit up and take notice. To see something that I have never seen before or learn something I don't already know. The ending, is sheer power. A masterpiece of all the elements of what filmmaking is about, mixed together in some sick souffle and thrown into your face, burning hot and scalding. The film leaves a deep impression, in fact, a huge scar. And it is a scar I am proud to wear.
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.
After multiple viewings, this film is straight up brutal!
The actors do a perfect job of delivering the story. Ellen Burstyn gives a monumental performance. I am unfamiliar with her other work, but this must be among her best performances. Jennifer Connelly gives the second best performance. So much emotion and tragedy in her...great performance. The rest of the cast also delivers; Jared Leto and Marlon Wayans both give fantastic performances. I really felt connected to the characters. It's not often that you can feel for them like this, but when it happens, it makes the experience so much more powerful.
The way the movie was filmed also stands out; the frequent use of closeups and also the fast, almost picture slideshow effects during the drug scenes, work nicely. The direction was wonderful. Darren Aronofsky is a great director. This was only my second film of his, and he's already leaving a huge impact on me.
The musical score by Clint Mansell was perfect. The music added a special something to every scene that lifted this film in so many ways.
Requiem for a Dream is incredible! Powerful, emotional, depressing, almost untasteful...but all the while, the incredible power that comes from this film is undeniable. A dark, beautiful masterpiece!