Requiem for a Dream movie review - Aussieboyreviews


One cannot call themselves rational if they weren’t absolutely sick to the stomach during and after this movie. Requiem for a Dream is a masterful, gritty and dirty drama focused on four lives falling apart as a result of drug addiction.


The lives and dreams of four drug-induced Coney Island people all connected to each other are shattered when their addictions run deep.

Movie Images

Movie details

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, Christopher McDonald, Keith David
Writer: Hubert Selby Jr., Darren Aronofsky
Release Date (Australia): 8 February 2001
Runtime: 102 minutes/1h 42m
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Language: English

CONTENT GUIDE (warning: May contain spoilers)

Themes (R18+)

The film contains drug themes that are high in impact, explicit depictions of prostitution, and thematic material relating to prostitution, drug dealing and addiction, mental health and electroshock therapy. A character has his arm amputated due to a graphic wound formed as a result of heroin injections.

Violence (MA15+)

The film contains scenes of strong violence, including a man being shot with a depiction of a blood spatter, a man being stabbed in the hand with a fork with blood detail, and brief fist-fights.

Coarse Language (M)

The film contains use of the words “s**t”, “f**k”, “motherf**ker”, “ass”, “bitch” and “damn”.

Drug Use (R18+)

There film features explicit drug themes, and contains occasionally implied depictions of characters snorting cocaine, injecting themselves with heroin and taking pills. There are also sequences depicting the side effects and hallucinations as a result.

Nudity (M)

The film contains sexualised depictions of buttocks, breasts and frontal female nudity.

Sex (R18+)

The film features several sex scenes and explicit depictions of prostitution, once in which a group of prostitutes perform sexual acts and use sex toys in front of a crowd of men.

mpaa rating

R (for intense depiction of drug addiction, graphic sexuality, strong language and some violence)

Aussie boy's thoughts

Requiem for a Dream is a horrific reminder of the suffering drug addicts endure, and the shattering ripple it creates on their lives and loved ones. It’s tragic, depraved, sickening, dirty and definitely not a popcorn-fun time, although it may very well be one of the most important films ever made. The film is arguably more of a study than a story, as it centres on the lives and dreams of four people being shattered when their addictions run deep. And what makes it even more devastating to watch is that their stories are all connected to each other through relationships, all ending with similar results.

The motivations of the four main characters compel the audience into caring for their futures, although it begins to get increasingly unlikely that all of them will have the happy endings they wished for. Jared Leto and Marlon Wayans play friends who are hoping to make it big off dealing heroin, whilst Jennifer Connelly takes on the role of Leto’s girlfriend who’s passionate in fashion design and Ellen Burstyn plays his mother trying to lose weight for an appearance on her favourite television show. Each of them at some point or already begin abusing drugs, which leads to painful withdrawals, injection wounds, and the tragedies that leave them all crawling into fetal position by the final scene.

The convincing performances, gritty camerawork, unique editing and haunting musical score are the ingredients this movie truly needs and makes perfect use of to achieve its success and float in the viewers’ heads for the rest of their lives. Leto and Wayans give absolutely breathtaking performances, but the high-class acting from Ellen Burstyn and just the facial expressions of Jennifer Connelly provide the dirty, sickening feeling you’ll remember Requiem for a Dream for. Also, whether the actors received makeup or not, they’re all very pale in appearance and truly make us feel like we’re watching drug addicts living through their everyday lives.

Clint Mansell is the writer for the emotionally destructive score that we hear in the background in many of the film’s scenes, but the way it occupies the background during the ending scene and into the credits after the overwhelming montage of prostitution, electroshock therapy, amputation and prison work is extremely difficult to watch. Speaking of the events in the third act, that’s where we get the highest intensity of the film’s claustrophobic camerawork. The cinematography in the movie is excellent, but there are also many scenes before, including depictions of drug use that are edited like a giant rush. Requiem for a Dream is a tough drama that leaves you feeling dirty, but its significance makes it a movie everyone should watch at least once.

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