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Darren Aronofsky
Ellen Burstyn as Sara Goldfarb
Jared Leto as Harry Goldfarb
Jennifer Connelly as Marion Silver
Marlon Wayans as Tyrone C. Love
Christopher McDonald as Tappy Tibbons
Janet Sarno as Mrs. Pearlman
Suzanne Shepherd as Mrs. Scarlini
Joanne Gordon as Mrs. Ovadia
Charlotte Aronofsky as Mrs. Miles
Mark Margolis as Mr. Rabinowitz
Michael Kaycheck as Donut Cop (as Mike Kaycheck)
Jack O'Connell as Corn Dog Stand Boss
Storyline: 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.
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Disturbing, Graphic and Great
I went to this movie hearing plenty of buzz about how graphic the content was. Over the course of the movie you see just how Aronofsky wants to send his message to the audience. The characters start off with somewhat mild addictions and then next thing you know the four main characters are living in hell. I couldn't believe how low they all fell. This movie may be the greatest anti-drug message of all time. I dare anybody to watch this and to not be touched and frightened by these characters. Before the movie started I noticed the audience was quite loud and garrulous, but as it ended and the credits rolled the whole place was stone cold silent. It was amazing.

As a whole I felt the movie was excellent. The visuals were well done and the editing was outstanding. The actors really put themselves into their roles. Jared Leto and Jennifer Connelly had very good chemistry, while Marlon Wayans showed he is a talented actor and not just a talented comic. Ellen Burstyn. Wow! She was amazing. I can't believe an older woman would allow herself to be filmed like that. She has some serious guts. Hands down the best female performance I've watched this year, not even close. I was totally amazed by her.

All in all, I would say Requiem For a Dream is a great movie. It had a profound impact on me and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I watched it on opening night. I definitely recommend this movie to anyone. This is a movie everyone should see, but unfortunately not enough will.
Not good.
Outstanding only in its mediocrity, if impressed by this buckle up and watch Trainspotting. A film centered on addiction done well.

Actinging more than passable, the charisma exuded by the performers kept me watching.

Direction - flamboyant but enjoyable, discernible talent for sure. In parts questions were asked on the necessity of such flourishes which felt tedious come the end.

Writing - If something needs to be said, it deserves to be said right. Clumsy dialogue left the whole film wanting. More bite needed.

All in all - Pretty film without guts. Seemed stuck in a murky middle ground unable to bridge either side unto which it could have been a decent film. Less direction, greater character progression, deeper storyline and weighty dialogue would benefit this film in my opinion.
Best of it's Kind
In my opinion, the best movie that deals with the pain of drug addiction. Multiple aspects of drugs were covered, the dealer who isn't addicted, those addicted to illegal drugs, and the less emphasized in our society, addiction to prescription drugs. The 1st act introduces the characters, establishes what's going on, and introduces the conflict. Act 2 has the characters finding temporary solutions to their problems, until things get worse. Act 3 has the characters taking drastic measures to try and overcome but end up taking huge losses. The realism of the situations and excellent performances make this movie hit close to home whether you can relate or not. Having had friends who've spiraled out of control due to drug addiction, I know what can happen when people lose control to substance abuse. Ellen Burstyn's performance was was exceptional, you can feel her loneliness and angst right through the screen. The montage near the end depicting the descent to the very rock bottom for the characters was a thing of beauty. The camera work was excellent, POV shots, frame shots, hand-held, it all worked seamlessly to bring out the emotions. Definitely not a movie for the weak at heart, but a must see for anyone who likes movies that make you think and feel.
Innovative, Wow.
The story of four people who get too much into drugs, it poses several questions, not all of them about drugs. One of them is, how stylized can movies become before they are so thoroughly stylized that they lose their narrative roots? It's rather like music in some respects. At one end of the dimension, which I won't try to name, there is a simple tune like, oh, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," which is easy to remember, fun to whistle, cute, and rudimentary (although Mozart did some very odd things with it). At the other, three minutes and some seconds of silence. In movies, at the simple end, we can have, say, a one-hour film consisting of nothing but the same shot of the Empire State Building. At the other end of the dimension we might get something resembling what one sees in a kaleidoscope while stoned. (Or maybe we come back to the Empire State Building; maybe it's not a dimension at all, but a circle.)

This one certainly hasn't lost touch with the events it describes but it's pretty highly stylized too, as far as the direction, photography, editing, and sound are concerned. Sometimes this stylization works to support the narrative and sometimes it doesn. Sometimes it actually works against it. Example: all of the drugged-up scenes are in fast motion, including those involving, not just speed, but marijuana and heroin. The hyped-up action we get while Ellen Burstyn is on diet pills is evocative, peppy, full of accelerated business. But heroin doesn't work that way. And marijuana practically ablates one's sense of the passage of time so that, for instance, it sometimes seems to take half an hour to urinate -- so they tell me. If you stop using speed abruptly you can get some wizard hallucinations. But no one hallucinates on heroin, although this film suggests they do. The result is that the stylization is sometimes over the top, not slowing down enough to give us a chance to take a breath. It's nerve jangling and leaves the viewer a neural shambles. The performances are fine, by everyone concerned. In particular, Jennifer Connoley has by far her juiciest role and, somewhat surprisingly, is up to it. Burstyn is excellent too, her accent pretty well Brooklynized. But some of that shredding of sensibilities is unearned and unnecessary. The editing is increasingly jumpy and shocking, though it never leaves us in doubt of where we are or who we are with. The score is a blend of mostly scratchy, unpleasant electronics and ordinary sounds with the gain on high -- each pill accompanied by a "plop" on the sound track, each flick on a lighter by a "pfft," and so on. (Sometimes it sounds like a Popeye cartoon.) The photography too is highly distinctive. Fisheye lenses abound here. Cameras are fixed by harness onto an actor's body so that the actor's face and shoulders are immobile while the background seems to swivel around him and he walks and turns corners. The effect is so disturbing that it keeps your eyes glued to the screen.

I found Aranovsky's earlier film, Pi, plan irritating and depressing because of the high-contrast photography and other directorially imposed effects. This one is depressing too, but less irritating because, despite the high style, a story is being carried, and the story is about characters we care something about. They may be self absorbed, like the subject of "Pi," but they're hardly self confident. Their weaknesses are pathetic but entirely recognizable. Ellen Burstyn wants to lose weight so she can look good in that red dress, just as she did at her son's graduation. She pursues the cultural ideal of slenderness and youthfulness. Her son and his pardners in euphoria pursue the cultural ideal of pleasuring one's self. The drugs could be a neat stand in for the values that prevail in our community currently. Why else, except out of a desire to look good, would people buy a three-hundred-dollar simulacrum of a rowboat and use it so regularly? Why else, except out of a desire to feel pleased with one's self, would anyone buy a forty-thousand-dollar ten-gallon-per-mile Suburban Assault Vehicle with a revolving machine gun turret atop it? Hey! Look at me, everybody, I'm young, beautiful, and happy! Of course I can't figure out why I'm alive, but I don't ask myself that question.

This is an extremely innovative film, but the director has made clear his admiration of earlier movies, including "The Panic in Needle Park" (the same general idea), "The Godfather" (ominous oranges), "The Little Shop of Horrors" ("Feed me, Sara!"), and maybe "Koyaanisqatsi" (the acceleration of the cuts, tempo, and onscreen movements from moderato at the beginning to molto agitato towards the end).

It left me saddened and panting for breath. I'm not sure I'd like to sit through it too often, but I certainly wouldn't have wanted to miss it.
The film-making quality is secondary- this film makes you FEEL
Often hype about films lead to disappointment and after waiting 14 months after release for my local cinema to show this film, I was done thinking about it. Thank goodness too, rather than challenge my brain (not hard to do unfortunately) this film went straight for the heart, ripped it out and kicked it around the floor for 90 minutes. As the addictions plunged further into the depths of Hell, I felt myself more and more arrested by the film. I've never left a film shaking or feeling physically ill- not including Pearl Harbour, of course :) You want to look away, but cannot.

This movie is by no means flawless, but then again I would like to hope that the flaws add to the gritty reality of the film. The ending was truly the most frightening thing I have ever seen in film- forget the cheap scares of The Exorcist, Psycho and the endless bile of the 'slasher flick', this stuff is REAL.

In a country amid a 'war against drugs' this is a powerful film which could do more to turn kids away from drugs than any measly government "task-force" or classroom lecture.
'Reefer Madness' with technical flourishes: the subject deserves better handling
I need not recapitulate the several reasons for many viewers' disappointment in this film, reasons which have already been noted by other users. In my case, having decided to see the movie after reading rave reviews by trusted critics, it was one of those unfortunate let-downs.

One of the film's weak points is its clear-cut division of characters into ordinary folks (going through great suffering), and evil-doers (aware of that suffering and blithely indifferent to it). Life is more complicated. I also find fault with the film in that it suggests there is something especially degrading about a middle-class Euro-US young woman being sexually exploited by an Afro-American man. When a film cues viewers to experience revulsion at certain sexual acts in certain circumstances, I prefer this to be done without gratuitously pushing the buttons of race/class prejudice. Call me PC if you like.

Finally, I am not at all 'pro-drugs', but I can't help wondering if this movie will be ridiculed in years to come, just as the anti-hash film 'Reefer Madness' (1936) is ridiculed now. The subject, I am afraid, calls for a film that delivers more than technical flourishes and some fine acting.
Truly Unpleasant
I was pretty enthusiastic about both Pi and its soundtrack, and was pleased to see another movie from the same fellow.

However, whereas Pi had an interesting plot and occasional moments of brightness, this movie was almost exclusively about suffering, and the last half of the movie almost gratuitously dwelt on that. My biggest beef was with the plot, which became a contrivance to abuse the characters, again in the last half. Whenever chance would have it that the protagonists could have several possible futures ranging from fortunate to dismal, the plot always chose the worst possible future. After a while, the suffering was completely artificial, loaded with graphic, ugly images; high-strung and irritating music, and a disregard for reality that had hitherto remained intact.

The acting was well-done, the direction had style, the music, save for the grating violins when things were really getting bad (which I suppose were meant to invoke pathos), was interesting and well-suited, but I have to ask myself -- why did I watch the movie if it was completely unpleasant, if I didn't learn anything save for the depths of pain and disgust to which a movie can go? I am all for intelligent independent movies, but there has to be some spark of enjoyment in it instead of a kaleidoscopic barrage of suffering. I regret watching this film.
"Requiem" Is a Heavyweight
You will not so much as want to take a sip of wine after watching this mesmerizing film about the horrors of drug addiction. I was not a fan of director Darren Aronofsky's debut film "Pi," but with this movie he proves to be a filmmaker of unlimited vision and style. Four characters in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn are all driven to despair due to their drug abuse, the saddest being Ellen Burstyn as a nice Jewish widow who unwittingly becomes addicted to prescription diet pills that help her lose weight but drag her into a world of hallucinations and paranoia. Burstyn is superb. It is so refreshing to see such a great veteran like her in such a challenging leading role, one in which she goes through a hell worse than that in "The Exorcist."

But this is a director's film if there ever was one. Aronofsky knows how to tell a story in a way that is dazzling in its use of sound, editing, and cinematography. The score by the Kronos Quartet and Clint Mansell is the most striking movie music I have heard in a very long time.

"Requiem for a Dream" is not a movie for everyone. It is the essence of independent filmmaking, a daring, engrossing, artful film that stays with you long after you leave the theater. Hollywood bubblegum this ain't.

Brutal, honest, and a must see movie
This ranks up there as one of the three most powerful movies I have ever seen in my lifetime (Full Metal Jacket and Grave of The Fireflies being the other two). This movie shows the brutal honest side of addiction and over-indulgence. Not just drugs, although it heavily shows drug addiction. Also shows how one addiction can lead to another and how damaging it can be for you. I watched this alone, and felt so stunned afterwards, I had to call a friend just to calm my nerves. Seriously, this is a brutal (one more time) BRUTAL film. The acting is wonderful - Ellyn Burnstyn and Jenniffer Connely are just wonderful in this movie, and Marlon Wayons was such a shocker in a serious role. Everyone must watch it, for it's entertainment value, and more importantly, it's educational value. But it leaves chills down your spine for it's honesty and unforgiving lessons.
YAWN!! Don't be fooled again ...
This movie is so derivative it is disgusting! I am very surprised at the number of people who think this movie is shocking and original when it is clearly stale leftovers with some fancy photography (the only redeeming quality). The characters act like they are in some never ending music video gone terribly wrong - it was obvious that they were shallow attempts to try and make us squirm. In the end everything was so over the top and stylized it just turns out to be ridiculous, staged, and boring. If you want to go see a movie that is imaginative and breaks through the normal movie nonsense go see Dancer in the Dark!!
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