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Requiem For a Dream (2000) * The Best Movie I Have Ever Seen * * Favorite Review * * Top Pick *

Hello all. Unfortunately, I can't contain my bias for this film. Rather than a critical review, this is more of an essay on perfection. You see, I want you to walk away with the knowledge that this film moved me immensely, and still hits hard the third time around, because this is the best movie ever made.

First of all though, a warning. I've lent this to others and I've heard such things as, "It's not THAT good", "Why are you so dark?" and "That's too heavy for me." Well to the first comment I say: not everyone can like the same thing, fine, it might not be your bag, but I know no one who actually HATED this film, and having spoken of this one so frequently, that's a bit of a surprise.

To the 'dark' comment, I don't know why I love tragedy (well I do but I won't get into it) but it's my favorite genre. Requiem for a Dream is not a fun film. It's the best lesson teaching film I've ever seen and I'm of the opinion that part of the drug speech you have with your kids when they hit 14 should include a viewing of this film. Maybe 14 is too early, but better they get shocked from a movie than from mainlining coke and popping speed.

To those who watch film like they watch reality TV, never wanting to watch a 'heavy' film, you're missing the point of such a versatile medium, and obviously this film isn't for you. The best stories are the ones that linger and impact. Disney is great for children, and we all return to it now and then, but when an injustice has been done and you want to learn more about it, a film should not make it easy on the viewer. On that note, this being the best teacher of the drug lesson ever, I'll officially reccomend that you treat yourself to Requiem for a Dream.

I guess I'll start by extolling the virtues of the 4 main actors:

Jared Leto, who you man know from Fight Club, plays the man with high ambition and some good ideas. Jared is absolutely perfect in this role. There's nothing he could do to be better. It's like he spent all his Oscar chips on this one.

His best friend, played by Marlon Wayans, is the man with the connections and gets in on the drug dealing business. Marlon's is without a doubt my favorite character. The bits about his mother are heart-wrenching, and Marlon has never been better in anything, ever.

The girlfriend, played by Jennifer Connelly, of House of Sand and Fog fame is absolutely gorgeous and her portrayal of how the addiction burrows its way into her relationships is the most gripping of all the stories, since it shows the terrible side of human desire.

Finally the biggest name is academy award winner Ellen Burstyn. You may remember her from such small art- house films as The Exorcist? Ellen plays the mother, whose dream of being a contestant on a TV show drives her to lose a few pounds, with the help of a prescription.

To think that there are better roles out there is possible, but from the casting to the secondary and tertiary characters, and the little author cameo, it's all perfection.


They have a way of making the sexy look disgusting, pain hurt deep down in your bowels, and the visual effects make you nod in understanding at the mindset and overall mood of the scenes, from peace and happiness to pain and suffering. Throwing in cocaine with coffee in the "using" scenes makes beautiful sense and even the simple shots are beautiful. Yet there's no holding back from showing appropriate gore and other icky moments, though never going overboard, rather keeping it frighteningly honest. It's beautiful how perfect the entire look of this is, and there's high art in the cinematography when our characters are high. Yes, it looks like fun, it looks good, it gets the message across, then yes it turns horrible too, and we get it, even if we never touched bennies, dope or snow.


Simplicity in declaration of plans and mad retorts of strung out withdrawal in obvious emotionally charged situations are offset by serene moments of professions of love and remembrance of a sweeter time. It's not poetry in motion, but it's good, clear, precise and honest. Freaky good.


The presence of imagination, those scenes where you think they're doing something for real then it goes back to them just thinking about it is a nice touch of fantasy. Each character arc is honest and we truly have no questions about the motives of any scene, except the lingering questions at the end that bore into you for days. But be warned, be ready to either bask in the moment alone, or have your friends ready to shake this off a little. Either way, I found it absolutely exhilarating. The ending and the symbolic 'last-scene' moment is utterly brilliant. This is what storytelling should be about. Never have I seen a tale so rife with the weight of meaning.


Fear crushes your heart with an iron grip. Loneliness, longing, addiction and the desire for acceptance entwines itself into your soul and pulls at every moment of pain you've ever felt, expanding it and making it present, current, and heavy, though not without respite. The moments of joy, happiness and hope are only elevated to again be dropped from newfound heights. Because the shattering of dreams crack the characters so deeply and change so perfectly their entire beings, each in a different way, that a future free of suffering is unimagined for years for each and every one of the players... this is why Requiem for a Dream is my favorite film.

Requiem For a Dream ... Perfect title.

Performance: 10 Cinematography: 10 Script: 9 Plot: 10 Mood: 10

Overall Rating: 98%, the highest score I've ever given.

| | | | | |

I LOVE this movie, Jared Leto is such a hottie. I agree with Squish that it's not one of those feel good movies. It's different and that's what I like about it, not everyone wants to be happy all the time or laugh or what have you. I like the special effects and the overall cinematograpy. I have this DVD and I watch it about once a year, it's too heavy for me to watch often. But how often do people watch the same movie?

Awesome flick.
One of the main reasons I'll never do any "hard" drugs. Thank you, Requiem!

This is so not even close to the best movie ever made. It's a great flick, the characters are defiately believable, and it "heavy" and "dark" in a good way, but it's overdone. Romanticizing drug addiction with hollywood pretty boys and pretty girls is a constant cliche. I've said it before and i'll say it again..........Best/Worst part of the movie....ASS TO ASS, ASS TO ASS.

I'm wth ya, Squish, on this one. I actually went back and watched Requiem about two months ago, I try to watch it once a year or so, and was again blown away by it. My boyfriend actually had to leave the room and told me he never wanted to see the movie again because it was upsetting him that much. Hed seen it before, but for some reason it hit him like a ton of bricks this time. It's the scene with Ellen Burstyn and Leto (I quote it here that always pushes me over the edge; it's one of the finest written and acted scenes I've ever seen, and just brutal.

I actually did a list of the scariest 7 films I've seen of the past 7 years, and Requiem topped it; I think of the film as a horror film, with drugs being the monster.

 Just added 'Requium' to my NetFlix queue - thanks for the suggestion.

Here's one for you:  "Music Within (2007)".  A bio-pic covering the life of Richard Pimental where great performances on a shoe-string budget prevail.  Yet the Hollywood marketing machine had no idea how to promote this film so it flopped badly.  When even the DVD box looks like a cross between a shameless romcom rip off (i.e. "The Holiday") and a feel-good holiday movie (i.e. "The Family Stone"), one begins to see why no-one got the opportunity to 'Get This One'. 

The film doesn't cover the protesters ditching wheelchairs at the base of the capital steps, and crawling up to the entrance, but an unexpected slice-of-life film where things never turn out exactly as we might hope... sounds like life to me.

While I don't quite call it the best film ever made, I'm glad someone else loves tragedy as much as I do. There is just something about a movie that ends badly that gets me really excited.

Night of the Living Dead would be such a worse movie if it didn't end badly. Easy Rider is the same way. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest ditto. Movies that end badly, not just sadly, but, kick you in the face, badly tend to be my favorites.

Wow! Fantastic review. I can't say that Requiem is my favorite film, but definitely in my top twenty. Wish I could articulate my feelings as well as you do.

There is already a glut of films on drug addiction. Filmmakers love this subject just as actors love to play mentally handicapped characters. In a comment on one of them, I plan to provide a survey of this and how addiction of the subject feeds the addiction it depicts. But not here, because what is interesting about this film is not that Aronofsky started with a notion of a world and might have successfully portrayed it. Rather the interesting thing is that he has a particular style of film-making that seems inflexible, and his problem is to find that one subject that is apt for the style.

Consider Terry Gilliam, the visual pythonista. He's very talented in creating quirky worlds with odd juxtapositions of props and sets. And he understands self-reference, the type found in British humor. But his overall sense of profundity is thin, and his mastery of narrative immature. So while his films are interesting in the sense that unlikely accidents attract attention, they are generally disappointing and messy. That is, until Fear and Loathing. That's because the drugged mind is precisely composed of odd juxtapositions and weak profundities. And Gilliam's sense of self-reference (aided by Depp) is able to combine his condition with Hunter's. It works; it works well.

Now turn to Aronofsky. He comes from a different visual tradition, one where slicing and dicing is the rule. Its not so much what the camera sees but how it sees it that is important. His first product: Pi, was a spectacular mess. That's because he assumed that mathematically induced hallucinations were something drug-like, and that mathematics was arithmetic, and that the connection between mystical cosmologies and axiomatic dissonance was something simple. No one noticed the lemonade-stand approach, because there may only be a couple dozen people alive who know uncontrolled mathematical visual worlds, and there is scant literature on this to be found. Here, he turns to something that everyone thinks they know: simple erosion of the mind and will from drugs. Here, his cinematic approach is more apt. He shuffles, he jiggles and follows, he splits, he injects a repeating snap when the character does.

Burstyn does an Emily Watson and completely bares her pathetic soul, and we are shocked at the supposed cost to her personally. The camera does succeed in intensifying the documentary feel, so the blur between character and actor is increased. So both Aronofsky and Gilliam have now produced, with the aid of talented performers, the one decent film their styles can accommodate unless they mature. What then? Well, in Aronofsky's case, it could be to develop the other thing he has done here -- he has created a somewhat masterful narrative of frustrated dreams. Personally, I prefer the understatement of 'Stranger than Paradise,' to the continual beating of the obvious we have here. But the self-referential notion of the fabricated TeeVee image defining this woman's hopes, mirrored by the similarly fabricated Movee image defining (not merely reporting) the loss of those hopes shows a promising narrative mastery. Let's hope he works on that for a few films and takes the Ridley Scott approach to growth on the cinematic side: do stuff you don't understand and develop the ability to adapt the vision to the narrative, not the other around. Not the other way around. ---------------------

I'm always very conflicted over this film, but it is easily the most memorable film I've ever many images (Mom wigging out while the doctor is oblivious, "ass to ass", all the incredible insane montages). It's incredibly dark, even darker than some of the darkest war films I've seen, and you'd think mass murder would be as dark as it gets. I suppose it's a masterpiece, but every time I see it I feel terrible ends with everyone's lives being completely devastated, with no hope of return.

I was sitting on the edge of my seat loving every second - until the hospital scene when I realised I had just spent an hour+ watching the grown up equivalent of an after school special.


Maybe American doctors have different ethical standards, but I can't imagine any situation where a doctor would see a person with a gangrenous arm and not treat it.
Totally killed it for me, to the point that I HATE the movie with a passion - such a shame cos its so well made, but too heavy handed with "its drugs are bad, m'kay" message.

fully agree, no doctor would turn him away like that. retarded

I'd never go so far as to call this my favorite movie, and it might even be a stretch to say that I liked it. That said, I will go so far as to say it is a staggering film, one that people should watch, and one that is powerful and will remain with the viewer for a long time following. It is in all respects a great film.

When I think of "favorite" films, I usually am talking about films that I enjoy watching or look forward to seeing. That's not Requiem for a Dream. When I talk about films that are a true definition of what can be accomplished with the film medium, though, this film is in the conversation.

As a co-worker said when he saw me watching this on my lunch break, "This movie made me want to kill myself." I concur, but only in a good way.

I agree with movie guy steve. RFAD is the best movie I'd never want to see again. In other words a movie that is worth seeing once, but it isn't very rewatchable. It is a great character drama that is effective in showing the consequences of drug use, while making you feel uncomfortable and dirty watching it. I have seen it a few times, unfortunately it hasn't held up well. I recently watched the HD version and it was 4:3 and pretty poor quality. I LOVE every other Aronofsky film, especially The Fountain, but RFAD is definitely not the best movie of all time, not even the top 100 of all time.

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