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Requiem For A Dream
Director's Cut

review by Chad P.

 

Rated: NC-17

Running Time: 102 minutes

Starring: Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, Christopher McDonald

Written by: Darren Arnofsky and Hubert Selby Jr.
Based on the book by: Hubert Selby Jr.

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

 

Studio: Artisan

Retail Price: $14.98

Features: Audio Commentary with Director Darren Aronofsky, Making Of Requiem For A Dream documentary, Deleted Scenes, Trailer and TV Spots, Production Info, Cast and Crew Biographies (and Filmographies), Interview conducted by cast member, Ellen Burstyn, of Requiem For A Dream author Hubert Selby Jr.

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, Scene Selections

Released: May 22nd, 2001

 

 

Requiem For A DreamÉ

Why do we watch this crap? Seriously, who wants to see a sack load of human lacklusters hopelessly spiral their way to hell? Who wants to see a Wayans brother destroy his life and career? And who the hell would ever want to see Jennifer Connelly sell her body for drugs?

ÉWe would. Definitely, I would. But, let's move beyond the glamour for a moment.

Each of us can relate in some way. There are people, friends that we know that indulge themselves beyond reason in the world of sex and drugs on a more than daily basis (is that possible?) To these folks, it doesn't matter that they're wasting away brain cells, or drastically reducing their period of life. For those who live by the "who wants to live until you're ninety and brain dead, anyway?" types, there's the rest of us (yes, I'm bias), who can see how false that really is. You pop down some pills now, and that age that so blindly resembles ninety, could come when you're forty or fifty instead. In that scenario, how appealing does a forty year life sound (twenty of which, maybe you're conscious for)?

Requiem For A Dream marks a very direct take on drug addiction. It's there. It gets under your skin. It hands you some hope of recovery with every one of its characters, and by the end of the film, it has taken that hope and buried it cold, and six feet under. To put it mildly, Requiem is like watching a loved one be raped and ransacked before your eyes.

On that note, it's 10pmÉDo you know where YOUR children are?

(Okay, breathe)

Still, this is a movie, and *still* this is a washed down version of reality, cornfed to the world. Aronofsky's picture marks a step towards a darker and grittier Hollywood, but the feeling has still been glossed over with its Fight Club-ish cinematography, and somehow plastic feeling characters. Personally, if you want to feel drugged out, but are looking for a somewhat inspiring ending, by all means go rent The Basketball Diaries instead. Requiem For A Dream is not a happy picture, and there's no "Hollywood ending" attached to enlighten the stereotypical family audience. (Please, familiesÉBy all means, go rent The Secret Of Nimh, or something uplifting for God's sake.)

This marks the second directorial feature film for the concretely brilliant Darren Aronofsky. And while this "review" may come of as a bit derogatory towards Requiem, I congratulate Darren on a job well done. Requiem's cast includes several "oh, I've seen that face" actors and actresses, ALL of which pulled out an incredible performance on top of one another to combine for something cool and stylish (and sick and brutal). I've been harsh regarding this film's effect on myself only because it didn't scare the sh*t out of me as much as I wish it would have. However, for Mom and Pop audiences that don't indulge themselves in every other film released these days, this movie will probably hit more closely to "reality" than the latest Survivor episode. To pill popping friends like mine, it had been only a week before Requiem's luster went lack and they were back to drug indulgence. It's this wide gap in viewer attention that makes Requiem something difficult to review. In summative, about all I can suggest is this:

If you're not the type who could stomach blood and guts action films, avoid Requiem For A Dream. It has nothing to do with "action", but this isn't the film for you. If you can stand blood and guts, and you aren't particularly offended when someone tells you to "lay of the crack", then I recommend this film wholeheartedly. You'll probably enjoy it.

This isn't a film that I can review based on opinions, because I'd write myself into oblivion (and that's why I've said virtually nothing of the plot). This is the type of film that you'll have to review for yourself, and all I can do is recommend it.

 

 

Presented only in Widescreen on both the rated and "Director's Cut" versions, the video was crisp and sharp. If you study cinematography, Matthew Libatique's is something to gaze upon with utter delight. Devour it.

 

As a lover of "silent scores", this movie drove me mad. The composer, Clint Mansell, who works with God (Trent Reznor) on his off days, created a stark and eerily vibrant soundtrack that was significant to the film's general mood, but also a strong deterent. Whomever timed and edited the score to the film, should be sedated immediately and prescribed several bottles of ridilin. It was too much to handle, and I was unable to ever relax &endash; Which may have been the film's intent, but was a bit overboard as far as dramatic pacing is concerned (you shouldn't really want your audience to become your film's characters, or else they'll walk out). Ironically enough, I still purchased a copy of the score, simply because it's just too good to refuse. As far as technical aspects, the Dolby checked out cleanly &endash; No real blunders or mishaps that I came across.

 

 

There is a Trailer and some TV Spots. Yay! Now where are the real "special features"?

There's Audio Commentary with Director Darren Aronofsky. Wow, is Aronofsky's voice boring or what? Hehehe. This is your typical run of the mill commentary with some interesting notes about the film and the process of filmmaking. (What else is new?)

Making Of Requiem For A Dream documentary was kind of a cool little thing. It wasn't entirely "little", so to speak, but it wasn't incredibly long either. I enjoyed the glimpse into upper class independent filmmaking (that's when you've got an established director making yet another independent film, with a larger budget). Again, Aronofsky hopefully is more interesting when he's drunk, but for the time being he's exactly like every director should be (bland enough to have enough time to be creative). The only thing that really sticks out in this documentary is the setup and patience needed for the long time lapse shot of Ellen Burstyn cleaning up her entire apartment. Aronofsky says it straight, "filmmaking is not fun".

Eh, these weren't particularly great Deleted Scenes. When you watch, you realize the reasons why they were cut. It's always interesting, if you study the art of editing, to see exactly which scenes were cut and why. If there were any scenes within this group that I thought should have stayed in the final film, it would be the scene that digs a bit deeper into Marlon Wayans' character's past.

Finally, there's an Interview conducted by cast member, Ellen Burstyn, of Requiem For A Dream author, Hubert Selby Jr. Not to be a sour sport, but I couldn't bring myself to watch the entirety of this segment. Instead, I fell asleep when all interest had been lost about five minutes into it, and that's God's honest truth. If you enjoy watching two people wax philosophical for ungodly amounts of time, this might be what you're waiting for.

 

Any Darren Aronofsky fan should have this film in their collections, no doubt. The film is a cinematic joy to watch and/or study upon if you're involved professionally or fanatically in film. Aronofsky really is among the greatest director's in Hollywood &endash; And with only two films under his belt, that's saying a lot.