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on February 27, 2016
This story is harsh and shoot in a raw way that encompasses a major amount of social dysfunction. Constant addiction to an element of biological differences. Drugs replace attention for pills and than food. The music in this picture is so overwhelmingly beautiful with it's haunting exheuberance on your soul and the terror each character faces while working an each other's dreams.
The book is a great companion but due to Darren writing the film with Hubert the film is by far more compelling and emotionally interesting.
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on April 14, 2017
Hard to watch. It shows the reality of what bad choices & lost chances can do to a once promising life. Great actor(s), Burstyn, Connelly.... Leto & Wayans are great as well. Not child appropriate, due to some graphic sex scenes, but 15 & up should be ok, nothing haven't seen or heard already by that time or age am guessing, especially with all today's technology available at one's fingertips.
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on September 21, 2014
An amazing film about the perils of drug addiction. Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Ellen Burstyn give unforgettable performances that will resonate in your memories for ages. When I first saw Marlon Wayans was in the film, I thought great, this must be a horrible slapstick comedy parody flick which he is usually annoyingly a part of. To my surprise, Wayans is fantastic in the film as Leto's best friend also sharing a horrible addiction with Leto. I don't want to give any spoilers so I will stay away from any details. If you want to watch an eye opening film, with spectacular actors and spectacular performances, this is a must see. Ellen Burstyn was robbed of an Academy Award for her performance, she is amazing. The musical piece by Clint Mansell will forever be in your head as it serves as a tool in driving the energy and mood for the film. It is easily the most influential piece of music I have ever heard in a movie in my life. It is a strong film with adult situations so if you are a bit squeemish then this might not be your cup of tea. It is one of the best films I have ever watched.
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on August 25, 2014
It is certainly not an easy movie to watch, especially at the end. It's the kind of movie that stays with you for awhile. It's about the story of 4 drug addicts, 2 on heroin (Jared Leto's character, Marlon Wayan's), one on cocaine (Jennifer Connelly), and the mother of Leto's character (Ellen Burnstyn) hooked on diet pills or "uppers." The movie starts off with the characters not quite addicted yet, although a case could be made for Leto's character already being addicted because he keeps selling his mother's TV. Sara Goldfarb (Burnstyn) starts off as a choco-holic, then finds out she's going to be on television by a call on her phone, but it is most likely a scam, but she uses this knowledge to try and lose weight. When dieting doesn't work, she goes to a doctor, who prescribes her 4 different pills, one of which is some kind of downer for her to take at night. She becomes a speed freak from taking these pills, and her life goes downhill from there to say the least.

The other three characters slide deeper and deeper into illegal drug addictions, and their lives take a serious toll. Connolly's character ends up resorting to prostitution, Leto and Wayans' characters end up getting locked up, with Leto's arm looking so bad it had to be mostly amputated. Wayans' character ends up staying in jail in the South somewhere. It is based on the novel by Hubert Shelby, Jr. Definitely a must-see, but be prepared for dire endings for all 4 main characters. It's the kind of movie that will have you question ever doing hardcore drugs, especially the ones 3 of the characters were into. The diet pills Goldfarb were on were 1950's diet pills, but I'm sure they are still prescribed today. Highly recommended for those who can handle movies that don't have a happy ending.
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on February 19, 2015
Some Spoilers:
Dare to dream, but don’t dream too big. You start out selling nickel bags of heroin. Soon, you’ll have enough money to buy a pound, and then you’ll be living the easy life, your dreams having come true. Such are the plans of Harry Goldfarb, Marion Silver, and Tyrone C. Love, three Brighton Beach, New York youngsters with plans for a brighter future. Meanwhile, Harry’s mother, Sara Goldfarb has glamorous dreams of her own that involve being on television, if only she can fit into that pretty little red dress that she used to wear. Requiem for a Dream (2000) is a masterpiece of drama and tragedy from director Daren Aronofsky, which once seen will never be forgotten. Although it fits squarely into the genre of drama, it is atypical simply for being a completely irredeemable tragedy. It is a frenetic trip through the chaotic lives and drug-addled minds of four souls on their own personal roads to ruin. It is American Dream turned American Nightmare.
The film is composed like a symphony, with the structure of verse, chorus, verse, a nod to Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Suite, I suppose. Verse One, starts out with Harry Goldfarb stealing his mother’s television set along with his friend Tyrone, so they can score some heroin. The setting is a somewhat bleak city scene, the colors are desaturated, and there is a slight vignette around the edges of the screen. I think all of this suggests a dreamlike state of mind, and it is an effective introduction to who the characters are. The musical score, featuring the powerful Lux Aeterna by composer Clint Mansell begins with a four-piece string quartet tuning their instruments then builds powerfully to a fast pace, as Harry and Tyrone race through the streets with their stolen television set. For me, this helped to create a building level of excitement and anticipation, wondering what was to come. The sound effects are visceral, for examples, the fizzing of the heroin being cooked, the ecstatic sigh of the junky after shooting up, and the mindless droning cheers of television audiences. The chorus is a rapid sequence of images of cooking heroin, popping pills, a close-up of pupils dilating, and a microscopic view of heroin rushing into a vein.
In Verse Two, Summer, Harry and Tyrone hatch a plan to start selling heroin in larger and larger amounts in hopes of retiring early. Harry also plans to help Marion open a clothing store. Things are going well for the trio, as the heroin is selling fast, and their shoebox is filling up with cash just as quickly. The director uses a lot of time-lapse sequences to convey the passing of time, a very effective and engaging technique. Sara Goldfarb finds out she is going to be on television, and she struggles to fit into a red dress that she once wore. She goes to see a doctor for weight loss and begins taking an assortment of diet pills- uppers for weight loss, downers to help her sleep at night, and eventually Valium to control her anxiety and developing psychosis. We also see time-lapse sequences of her cleaning her apartment, which creates a sense of her increasing restlessness due to amphetamine use. Slow motion sequences and distorted sound are used to convey a sense that her thinking is becoming disorganized. Wide-angle, close-up shots of her sweat-beaded face make the viewer feel her fear and anxiety. This is clearly a woman who is no longer mentally well.
Verse Three, Fall, starts out with Tyrone’s drug supplier getting killed. Events begin to take a turn for the worse as the heroin supply dries up on the streets of the neighborhood. Sara Goldfarb builds up a tolerance to her medications and begins taking increasing amounts to feel the same euphoric effects. Again, we see wide-angle, close-up shots, bringing us into her psychosis. The music again starts very quiet in this scene and crescendos, creating a rising tide of anxiety. The lighting turns from bright and sunny to dark and brooding, and the colors are more saturated, as reality begins to set in for our characters. The characters’ appearances change, as they all begin to look strung-out with dark eyes. Sara’s psychosis grows as she begins to have hallucinations, which are portrayed with magic realism. Harry’s and Tyrone’s shoebox gradually empties out, as their heroin business goes bust. Harry and Marion are at each other’s throats about being out of drugs. Marion finds herself having sex for money and drugs. Harry develops a really nasty infection in a vein in his left arm. All of the characters push their limits to satisfy their addictions, and the consequences for everybody are devastating.
The film was released in the year 2000. As for social context, it is difficult to tie this in to any larger events in history. Attitudes about drug use in America were mostly pretty liberal at the time, and this film presents a cautionary tale about the dangers of addiction without being preachy, and indeed, without moralizing at all. I have had some friends who have died as a result of drug use. So, I appreciated that the story showed the characters as beautiful and flawed human beings but not as immoral monsters. I believe drug addiction is a serious health issue and not a moral issue, and I think that may ultimately be the message of this movie. They are tragically flawed but not evil.
On a scale of A to F, I give the film an A-, simply because it is beautifully filmed and the dialogue is excellent. The minus comes from the fact that it is not something that I would want to watch over and over again. I have seen this film three times, and each time, it was successively more difficult to watch. Having said that, I would definitely recommend this movie, although it is deeply disturbing. It may leave you curled up in the fetal position, needing someone to hold you and soothingly whisper, “Everything is going to be alright.”
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on April 24, 2011
Amazing on a purely cinematic level - assaultive, hyper-kinetic, full
of breathtaking images and cuts, The performances too range from good
(Jared Leto) to extraordinary (Ellen Burstyn).

But for me, after a while, the style becomes the substance, and I'm
ever more aware of the filmmaking rather than the story and characters,

Also, other than 'drugs are bad', I'm not sure what Aronofsky is really
getting at. There are interesting implications that our real addiction
is to our dreams, and escaping whatever our reality is, but those
themes are never fully played out. So we end up with a film made with
the technical skill of a Scorsese or Kubrick, but missing a layer of
depth in favor of (admittedly amazing) pyrotechnics.

Last, it feels like the film 'cheats' more on reality as it goes along.
By the end the story twists start to join the style in being over the
top, and a bit illogical.

Now, all that carping aside, I still recommend this film for it's
bravery, performances, and technical virtuosity. And it grew on me on a
2nd viewing. And I'm a fan of Aronofsky's. But I'm in the minority in
admiring this film, but not being able to completely embrace it.
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on May 12, 2016
Mind blowing, this movie could not have been cast better. If it were possible to let students in junior high or high school to see clips of this movie and what the effects of drug use in your adult life I think it would do wonders into scaring the crap out of people into trying or overdosing. This movie is in your face the entire time, and it apologizes for nothing. You can't help but feel bad for every character at the end of this movie, especially Ellen Burstyn's character, which was so well played it's hard not to feel somewhat heartbroken. It is sensational and utterly disturbing and yet knowingly is a part of our society, I will never be able to stop thinking about Requiem for a Dream.
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on April 8, 2017
It had been years since I'd seen this film. I knew what I was getting myself into, but it still slapped me across the face by the end. This is NOT a feel-good movie in ANY way, but it's an important one--perhaps even more so today given the current opiate epidemic.
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on May 7, 2015
Based on the book of the same name by Herbert Selby. Follows the book well. An accurate and gritty portrayal of people caught up in the drug scene. Difficult to watch. Ellen Burstyn was great as a mother addicted to diet pills, very sad. At the same time, her teenage son is dealing with alcohol and drug abuse. The young actors are very good. Sad all the way though to the very end. High school kids need to watch this movie. It is NOT stupid like the cult classic "Reefer Madness". This is as real as it gets. Left a big impression on me.
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on February 1, 2015
I only watched this film one time in the past. I told all of my friends it's easily in my top 3 movies of all time. After watching it again, I can easily say the fact still stands.

One thing I noticed this time around was the cinematography matches the pace of the film in a brilliant way. I'll keep it spoiler free, but the opening scenes seem rather amateur / simple, but as the story progresses it gets more and more complex to match the complexity of the film. This movie belongs on my "Must see" list that everyone should see at least once.
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