Requiem for a Dream - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Requiem for a Dream Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 7, 2014
WOW!! What a "don't do drugs" ad! Great acting and the cinematography is GREAT as well as the acting! Even a bigger Jared Leto fan now!
Super Reviewer
½ May 8, 2007
Ellen Burstyn is great but the this is a long dreary slide into misery, not entertainment.
Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2006
Before seeing this film, and other 'anti-drug' films, I made up my mind and vowed to never do hard drugs (especially heroin). Upon seeing The Basketball Diaries, Trainspotting, and now, this film especially, my pledge was reinforced 10,000 times over.

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.
Super Reviewer
July 5, 2013
It's a wild ride of insanity and chaos. Though the film isn't as powerful as it should be--nor does it offer any uplifting message or much closure for the characters---Requiem for a Dream can be admired for its brilliant cinematography as well as Ellen Burstyn's captivating performance. More than anything, the film is a visual and auditory treat with a rousing soundtrack and--common for an Aronofsky film--artistic film editing that displays the darker edges of the human psyche.
Super Reviewer
½ December 21, 2006
Jared Leto stars as a junkie looking for a way onto easy street for himself, his bored upper class girlfriend Jennifer Connelly and partner in crime Marlon Wyans. It's easy to dismiss Requiem For A Dream as a simplistic "drugs are bad" fable, but if you watch it with unbiased eyes, it actually is not preachy at all. It is a beautifully shot, visually inventive and extremely well acted tale documenting the modern world's obsession with the quick fix; every character in their own way is dealing with their empty, meaningless lives by avoiding dealing with them with the use of various addicitons; whether it be heroin, chocolate or television which inevitably leads to an unending spiral of degradation. After all, if you spend all of your time avoiding your problems, when they finally catch up with you they will inevitably be infinitely worse. Making Trainspotting look like The Little Mermaid, it's a harrowing, grimly affecting yet hypnotic film that you can feel gnawing at you in the pit of your stomach. This is cinema as an artform, and the best film David Lynch never made.
Super Reviewer
July 31, 2008
From the director of [Pi].

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.
Super Reviewer
½ October 20, 2012
An intense, hallucinatory film about drug addiction, and solely drug addiction. The plot does not veer away from the characters, but instead focuses on the effects the drugs have on them and their lives. Although confusing and jumpy with many explanations missing, the editing, music and imagery will stay with you for many years after. Ellen Burstyn gives an astounding performance that stands out among other searing performances from Jared Leto, and Jennifer Connelly.
Super Reviewer
½ September 26, 2010
This movie is intense. Be prepared before watching this movie. This movie is so meticulously well put together that I have to give this movie the credit it deserves. I can't emphasize enough how well this movie was directed. Down to the pacing and the camera work, this movie is driven to shock audiences... but i ain't watching this movie again. I'm not planning to eff with the mood of my day.
paul o.
Super Reviewer
½ December 27, 2010
One of hardest movies i have ever seen. The message is quite clear...Dont do drugs or else! Following the downfall of a mother, her son, his girlfriend, and his best friend, Requiem for a Dream has this way of emotionally scarring you. Starting with ambitious beginnings to depressing ends, this has to be one of the most talented films up to date.

After multiple viewings, this film is straight up brutal!
Super Reviewer
½ January 18, 2007
such a difficult film to digest. the construction of the film was nearly perfect. aronofsky made excellent choices on direction style, and the subject matter could not have been handled better. the film was built like an 80's horror flick, and our villain was drug abuse. the hard part about a film like this is that i cant walk away from it thinking "wow i cant wait to see that again". the film couldnt have been made any better but it still suffers from being what it is. overall, great film.
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2011
Darren Aronohsky crafts a solid, disturbing picture about addiction. Brilliantly shot using odd cinematography, Requiem for a Dream is a well crafted drama that is brilliantly acted and directed. Aided with a great cinematography to give the impression that you're experiencing the taste of the "high" of the characters, Arnoksky conveys a sense of helplessness both in the characters and the viewer. Requiem for a Dream is an almost perfect film. Aronofsky has crafted a solid film supported by a great cast of talented actors. Each actor is simply wonderful in the parts they play. However for me, the best performances of all were Ellen Burstyn and Jared Leto. Requiem for a Dream is a haunting, chilling film that really exposes the helplessness of addiction. That is one of the reasons why this film is so powerful. The film is complimented with a great soundtrack, which many people have heard. Requiem for a Dream has some interesting cinematography that adds emphasis on the characters addictions. This is a brilliant, well acted and directed film. Requiem for a dream is an important film that emphasizes addiction, and is a definite must see film for film buffs. The film has a unique style which adds to the grittiness of the picture, and it immerses you further in its story. Truly a unique film that is worth watching.
Super Reviewer
August 15, 2011
Requiem for a Dream is too good for words to describe, and I have never before seen such a intense drama like this, and trust me, no junkie is gonna be doing drugs after this. The story revolves around four people who become addicted to drugs and their lives slowly become worthless. The storyline was too incredible for words, this movie is the greatest anti drug film ever, and it shows people that any kind of addiction will lead to nothing but terrible things. Darren Aronofsky has become one of my favorite directors, and im at a loss which I loved more of his work, this, The Wrestler, or Black Swan, all were incredible. The cast was amazing and I think the performance I will remember the most will be Ellen Burnstyn, she was incredible. The music score in this film is some of the greatest music I have ever heard in film, its possible the best music I have ever heard in film, god I love this soundtrack. The cinematography was also a great importance, Aronofsky uses the camera to make us feel like how they feel, and it truly was some one of a kind camerawork. Requiem for a Dream is a work of sheer genius, and this film will horify your mind until the day you die, and all my life I have seen my peers get in to that stuff and I will just never understand why, and I am glad they created this ingenious movie, because it has a great lesson some people need to see, I completely and indefinently loved Requiem for a Dream.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2006
A difficult movie for me to rate, as I often find it hard to relate to the characters in films about drugs. Same here, where we never learn why the kids are addicted and there is never even the slightest hope of them getting away from it. Things go further down the spiral with every minute and while that is impressively filmed in the style of an 80s pop video and the acting is outstanding, it left me entirely indifferent, emotionally. A bleak, depressing film that ends with all the characters curling up into embryo position when they reached the absolute low in the end. I can't say I get why that would be someone's favorite film.
Super Reviewer
August 1, 2011
Shocking and crazy to watch at certain points. But you still watch, cause it's that good.
Super Reviewer
June 10, 2011
Incredibly strange and awkward at times, it's highly original and is shot very well. I like the series of montages and time lapses. It really adds to the druggy feel of the film. Brilliant performances from all and although not something I'd necessarily like to watch again, it could be very good to use as a reference point for experimental films.
Super Reviewer
½ April 20, 2011
Extraordinary performances, brilliant editing, and a haunting tone make Requiem for a Dream a message more than a film. It's intensity gives the viewer rare insight down a path no one wants to travel, and one we should avoid. Aronofsky is a master at what he does, and this is what he does best: creating a film that spins the mind until it screeches to a halt, lost among a dark mood and chaotic editing and cinematography. I mean that in a good way. Aronofsky always chooses art over entertainment with his films, and he usually makes it work beautifully. This film is one of those occasions.
Super Reviewer
December 7, 2010
There aren't enough words or praises to describe this film. It's so brilliant in every way! One of the most depressing films I have every seen in my life. I did not cry, but there were multiple instances where I was close to breaking down.

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!
Super Reviewer
½ April 27, 2011
A frightening perspective on drugs and addiction. Some very innovative editing and an intense orchestrated soundtrack will certainly make you feel uncomfortably edgy. Great performances by the cast especially Ellen Burstyn, will make this film feel all too real. This is one horror of a ride and it accomplishes all it's shocking and disgusting goals.
Super Reviewer
March 19, 2011
Its one of those movies that sticks with you for a long time after you've seen it - the top-notch performances and the vivid directorial style are second only to the grim and utterly frightening message the movie sends. Would serve great in an anti-drug campaign.
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