Requiem for a Dream

Marianne, you are the most beautiful girl in the world. You are my dream.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * * · )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )

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Requiem for a Dream should be required in every high school health class in America. Instead, in our "see no evil" culture, it is branded NC-17 and stuck out there with the uncut version of Showgirls. "Drug pornography", it is labeled. "Promotes the use of controlled substances" they say. How far they are from the truth. No movie goes further to show you just how damaging narcotics can be. No movie makes you care more for the junkies you see and nothing since Soderbergh's Traffic gives you the depth into this culture that we so easily dismiss to the other side of the tracks.

Requiem for a Dream isn't the kind of movie you would throw in to impress your old college buddies. You won't come home from a hard day at work and tell yourself "Think I will relax with a little RfaD". If you ever go into a home theater shop with a copy and know that chapter 38 is the electro-shock scene, you better seek professional help. Requiem for a Dream is a wonderful movie you won't ever want to see again. The acting and story are both excellent and drive the movie well into the realm of a high quality flick. You do get to see someone puke, fitting the high-class puking movie rule. The story follows four people, all good people with real lives and real ambition, and watches them get torn apart, sometimes literally, by narcotics. The movie mixes surreal camera work and effects with some horribly vivid cuts to give you what seems to be the worst of both realms.

Requiem for a Dream was directed by Jennifer Connelly.

There are two releases of the movie, one is the unrated directors cut which if you are any kind of film lover at all is the only one you will consider. It includes a 1.85 to 1 16x9 enhanced picture and what appears to be a Dolby pro-logic audio transfer. I am sure when I watched it that it was Dolby Digital 5.1, though, and think it is mis-listed on Amazon. It also includes a directors commentary track, something that is highly useful on such a monumental film. Of course, that means you have to stomach watching it again.

Our society takes movies like this and tosses them on the side of the road like a dirty McDonalds paper cup. It has no concept for what should and shouldn't be rated PG, R and NC-17. No kid is going to watch this movie and get his rocks off. No kid would ever see this movie and decide that it is a good advertisement for heroine use. If he does, he is seriously messed up to begin with and you might consider extremely him from your basement furnace once in a while. Now while every kid over the age of 17 should be forced to see this movie, no one should ever need to see it twice. It is extremely well done, and I am definitely glad I saw it once, but I see no need to see it again.