1001 Movie Club: Requiem for a Dream

Requiem for a DreamIt’s time for the third installment of first month of the 1001 Movie Club. Of the four films we watched in November, Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream is my favorite.  It’s the director’s first film after Pi which put him on the map in a very, very good way.

The script was adapted for the big screen by Aronofsky and Hubert Selby Jr., and is based on Selby’s book of the same name. It closely examines a small group of people and their addictions.  There’s Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), his mother Sara (Ellen Burnstyn), Harry’s girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly, and his best friend Tyron (Marlon Wayans), among others.  Harry, Marion, and Tyron are recreational drug users that decide to start pushing in order to finance other dreams.  Sara is blissfully ignorant about her sons indulgences, and chooses food as her fix.  Her obsession with becoming thins leads her to an addiction to uppers in the form of weight loss pills.

The film is most definitely too intense for some.  The film premiered at Cannes, and quickly after was given an NC-17 rating for a particularly aberrant sex scene.  It’s holds an extremely harsh view of the drug scene and seeks to make that clear at every point.  A lot of Selby’s original seventies’ slang is kept intact, and it makes for some fantastic dialogue.  Every performance is spot on, especially Ms. Burnstyn who received an Oscar nom.

Aronofsky’s specific style for the film is mesmerizing.  Requiem has over 2,000 cuts, as opposed to the normal six or seven hundred.  The whole thing is coupled with one of the most haunting and beautiful scores that’s been made for a film in a long time.  Yes, the film is incredibly bleak, but this is one of the best examples of the power and magic of film making.


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8 Responses to “1001 Movie Club: Requiem for a Dream”
  1. M. Carter says:

    This movie has not wavered in my mind as deserving a spot in my list of all-time favorite movies. Never have I seen a movie about drug addiction that is so aggressively realistic and bleak; there’s not an ounce of hope to be found anywhere, and that’s as it should be. Aronofsky is a visionary, and he has created one of the best movies ever made about the ways drugs poison a life from the inside out.
    .-= M. Carter´s last blog ..5 books that would make great movies =-.

  2. This film has been on my too see list forever. Glad to hear that it gets the Bitchin’ thumbs up! The 1000 Movie Club certainly looks like it is off to an interesting start.
    .-= Shannon the Movie Moxie´s last blog ..25th Annual Spirit Awards Nominations =-.

  3. Rachel says:

    In my Top 10 favorite films. I’ve heard people say they thought it was a good film, but found it too difficult to ever watch again. I am not one of those people.

    Just one tiny correction: the film is based on Selby’s book of the same title, not Last Exit to Brooklyn. The film is a very faithful adaptation of the book.

  4. Blake says:

    @ M. Carter – This is absolutely one of my top 20 favorite films. I’ve probably seen it 10 times, and it never gets old.

    @ Shannon – I can’t believe you haven’t seen this! You most definitely should, I promise you won’t be sorry, unless you have a weak stomach. 🙂

    @ Rachel – Thank you so much for the correction, I fixed it now. I have no idea why I thought it was based on Last Exit to Brooklyn. I haven’t read either of those books, so I have no idea where I came up with it. Thanks!

  5. Branden says:

    I couldn’t believe that this movie didn’t recieve more nominations that year at the Oscars. It’s a crime!

  6. alfindeol says:

    Great review! That statistic on the cuts is particularly amazing, but it is a really great indicator of how much extra time and effort went into crafting Requiem’s visual style.
    .-= alfindeol´s last blog ..Vampyr (1932) =-.

  7. Steve says:

    This movie is a thoroughbred champion and continues to be the best at many things in my book – and will definitely always be the greatest performance Marlon Wayans will ever turn in. One adjustment I’d make to your review is that rather than a harsh view of drug use, I’d say that it was raw. Aronovsky manages to properly convey the highs AND the lows of the drug scene – capturing Selby’s world perfectly.
    .-= Steve´s last blog ..Heeeeeere’s Whiplash! =-.

  8. yes i think Darren Aronofsky’s “requiem for a Dream” really caught some attention of ours as it showed us how peoples hopes & dreams shattered by drug addiction.although the way Aronofsky’s tried to give us (clear) message about drug in that movie, some might find disturbing but the fact remains these are all true about drug addiction.so hats off to Darren Aronofsky’s & his crew in this film specially those four character(harry,tyron,marion & harry’s mother)portrayed by those actor & actress are simply brilliant.
    .-= Narconon Vista Bay´s last blog ..Maryland Zoo partners with the B&O Railroad, Maryland Science Center, and Port Discovery for the Months of January and February. =-.

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