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Requiem for a Dream - Director's Cut

4.2 out of 5 stars 1,559 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Employing shock techniques and sound design in a relentless sensory assault, Requiem for a Dream is about nothing less than the systematic destruction of hope. Based on the novel by Hubert Selby Jr., and adapted by Selby and director Darren Aronofsky, this is undoubtedly one of the most effective films ever made about the experience of drug addiction (both euphoric and nightmarish), and few would deny that Aronofsky, in following his breakthrough film Pi, has pushed the medium to a disturbing extreme, thrusting conventional narrative into a panic zone of traumatized psyches and bodies pushed to the furthest boundaries of chemical tolerance. It's too easy to call this a cautionary tale; it's a guided tour through hell, with Aronofsky as our bold and ruthless host.

The film focuses on a quartet of doomed souls, but it's Ellen Burstyn--in a raw and bravely triumphant performance--who most desperately embodies the downward spiral of drug abuse. As lonely widow Sara Goldfarb, she invests all of her dreams in an absurd self-help TV game show, jolting her bloodstream with diet pills and coffee while her son Harry (Jared Leto) shoots heroin with his best friend Tyrone (Marlon Wayans) and slumming girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly). They're careening toward madness at varying speeds, and Aronofsky tracks this gloomy process by endlessly repeating the imagery of their deadly routines. Tormented by her dietary regime, Sara even imagines a carnivorous refrigerator in one of the film's most memorable scenes. And yet... does any of this have a point? Is Aronofsky telling us anything that any sane person doesn't already know? Requiem for a Dream is a noteworthy film, but watching it twice would qualify as masochistic behavior. --Jeff Shannon


Special Features

  • "Making of" Documentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Interviews with Ellen Burstyn and Hubert Selby Jr

Product Details

  • Actors: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, Christopher McDonald
  • Directors: Darren Aronofsky
  • Writers: Darren Aronofsky, Hubert Selby Jr.
  • Producers: Ann Ruark, Beau Flynn, Ben Barenholtz, Eric Watson, Jonah Smith
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Live / Artisan
  • DVD Release Date: May 22, 2001
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,559 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CXP1
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,210 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Requiem for a Dream - Director's Cut" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
I was tempted to title my summary "Drugs are bad, mm'kay?" because this movie was so sad I was desperate to inject a little humor. Man, what a sad, scary, excellent, grim, disturbing, well-made movie. The more I read about this movie and learned about it, the more fascinating it seemed. I also am one of those people who, when they hear a movie is extremely shocking and disturbing, get a burning urge to see it as fast as I can to see if it shocks me (especially if it's unrated or NC-17), since I am pretty jaded. So, I eagerly anticipated seeing it.
The plot concerns four addicts. Jared Leto and Jennifer Connelly play a young loving couple, Harry and Marion, who dabble in heroin and plan to make a big sale along with their friend Tyrone (Shawn Wayans) so they can be set for life and Marion can open up her own (legal) business. Unfortunately, their recreational drug use turns into day-to-day addiction, and things start to get ugly. REAL ugly. A couple shots even kind of give a whole new definition of the word 'ugly'. Ellen Burstyn plays Harry's mother Sarah, a lonely widow who wants to lose weight to fit into a red dress so she can appear on her favorite TV show. She starts out by being addicted to TV and candy, but has the bad luck to go to a doctor who gives her an RX for 'diet pills', that turn out to actually be the old-fashioned kind they gave to women in the 50s- speed.
I found her story thread the most memorable and heartbreaking. Sarah takes pills and starts losing weight, as well as suddenly becoming very energetic and chatty. Like any addictive drug, her happy blue pills stop working after prolonged use so she ups her dose more...and more...and things slowly start getting very weird and scary.
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By A Customer on January 17, 2004
Format: DVD
Addiction-what it is, what is does, who it affects, how it progresses, and how it feels is very hard conceive-especially for somebody who has never suffered from an addiction or been close to someone who has. Requiem for a Dream is not a documentory or historicaly acurate depiction of drug use. What it is, is a graphic, shocking, disturbing, and most of all-VERY REAL-representation of addiction, through the eyes of an addict. I know this because I used drugs and alcohol for more than 20 years, in the end I nearly completly destroyed myself and I caused great pain and undue suffering to my family with my addiction to cocaine . I am not what the general population perceives as a drug addict. I live in a small town in the upper Midwest. I have a wife and two children and make about $30,000/yr. Few knew of my use. I was selling drugs to support my own habit, and yet ended up more than $20,000 in debt from just credit cards. I know what a "road to nowhere," irrational, out-of-control, empty and sickening feeling addiction is. Requiem for a Dream portrays this feeling in a way words could not begin to decribe. I have been clean and sober for seven years, but after I viewed Requiem, I emotionally broke down as memories came flooding back. This is not a movie for entertainment. If you want to know what an addiction is like (especially to highly addictive drugs like heroin, cocaine, or amphetamine)see this movie. If you think "that will never happen to me," watch this movie again and see how you will give up ANYTHING and EVERYTHING as your whole life revolves around ONE thing-to obtain that chemical and use it. This movie is so good, I will never watch it again.
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Format: VHS Tape
This disturbing film, creatively directed by Darren Aronofsky of "Pi" fame is about drug addition. For Ellen Burstyn, cast in the role of Sarah Goldfarb, a lonely Brooklyn housewife who is trying to lose weight to appear on a TV show, the drug of choice is diet pills. For her son, played by Jared Leto; his girlfriend, played by Jennifer Connely; and his pal, played by Marlon Wayans, the drug is heroin. Based on the novel by Hubert Selby, Jr., who also wrote the screenplay, the setting is a run-down and sad Brooklyn neighborhood near the beach, where buildings are old, people are poor and the American dream is a far off taunting illusion. The time period is unclear because the TV set, which is the center of Sarah Goldfarb's life, is of 1950s vintage; and yet the characters all use cell phones. But these details really don't matter much. There are enough other fantasy elements in this film to hurl it into the age that created music videos.
Using creative film techniques, the director has managed to bring the audience right into the mental states of the addicts. There are extreme close-ups, slow-motion and fast-motion sequences and split screen effects. We go on the fantasy trip with the characters and then we crash with the reality. We watch the effects on them as their personalities change as well as their physical appearances. The result is chilling. The script calls for outstanding acting jobs and Ellen Burstyn's work is perhaps the finest of her long career. The other actors also shine in these very challenging performances. Jared Leto is more than just a handsome young actor; Jennifer Connely, who is almost too pretty for her harrowing role, is excellent; and Marlon Wayans, who we usually see in comedies, proves here that he handle a serious part. This is not a film for the squeamish. It is deeply disturbing and sad. But the discomfort is worth it for those who are willing to explore this underbelly of a perverse American dream. Recommended.
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