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Requiem for a Dream: Director's Cut

Review Written by: Mitch Beaupre
Film: A+
Video/Audio/Extras: A/A/A

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Written by: Darren Aronofsky and Hubert Selby Jr.
Based on the book by: Hubert Selby Jr.
Produced by: Eric Watson and Palmer West
Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, Christopher McDonald, Louise Lasser
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Buy it!

Addictions, no matter what the cause, are deadly. That is the motto of this frightening story. Four very different people experience four different addictions. You see the common addictions to cocaine, heroine and weed, but then you see a rare kind of addiction. This addiction is towards television. The widow Sara Goldfarb, played brilliantly by Ellen Burstyn, is an old woman whose only two joys in life are thinking of her son Harry (Jared Leto) and watching television. When she gets a call from the producers telling her that she is going to be on television, she becomes motivated to do whatever it takes to lose weight. All she wants is to fit in her old red dress that she wore to Harry's graduation.

She soon realizes that the she has become overweight, so overweight that she cannot fit into her red dress. She then becomes obsessed with finding a way to fit into it. Once she overhears one of her friends mention their daughters massive weight loss, due to some special pills, Sara decides that she should take the same approach. You soon find out the drastic toll that these pills take on her life.

Requiem for a Dream is a haunting tale of addictions and the horrible effects that these addictions have on people's lives. You see each individual person experience these effects and see their inability to control their addictions. They fall deeper and deeper until finally they spiral into a terrible fate. The dramatic opening to the film, an argument between Harry and Sara Goldfarb over their television has stuck with me since I first saw this movie. This is significantly because of one line dropped by Sara Goldfarb at the climax of the situation. "In the end it's all nice." Six simple words become the most ironic phrase coined throughout cinema history. The characters plunge into their addictions, and you gradually realize that in the end everything will be far, so far, from nice.

The greatest thing about this film has to be the performances, Ellen Burstyn's in particular. She deliver's one of the most notable performances in the history of cinema. Not since Kathy Bates in Misery have I seen a performance this well done by a female. You become entranced in her need to lose weight, "I'm thinking thin." You begin to feel for Sara Goldfard and the conclusion brought a tear to my eye. However, the other performances are not to be forgotten. Jared Leto also delivers a great performance. If Christian Bale hadn't shone so brightly in American Psycho, Leto's performance would have been the best of the year by a male. His heroin addiction spirals out of control, once his arm becomes infected. Even with this terrible infection, he still feels the need to inject himself. The site of Harry injecting heroine into his bloodstream, whilst his arm is terribly infected, is truly stomach stirring. Everytime I see it, I feel the desire to vomit. But, by this point I have become glued to my television, much like Sara Goldfarb and I no longer have the ability to get up and leave. Jennifer Connelly delivers the best supporting performance of the year by a female or a male. Her cocaine addiction is extremely depressing. You soon find out that she is willing to do absolutely anything for some coke. I truly mean anything.

The sound and audio both get A's in my book. Both are absolutely outstanding. The special features are in depth and bring you to the very core of the character's Requiem for a Dream. You can watch an outstanding documentary with audio by director Darren Aronofsky. Also featured are chilling deleted scenes, an interview conducted by Ellen Burstyn towards the author of the book and co-writer of the screenplay, Hubert Selby Jr. Also shown are the Anatomy of a Scene, previously aired by the Sundance Channel, trailers for the film and cast and crew biographies and filmographies. All together the special features are some of the best that I have ever seen featured on a DVD.

This movie is an outstanding movie and definately in my top ten. It is the best film of the year 2000 and it will stick with you throughout the rest of your life as it has with me. An amazing film and a must buy for everyone who enjoys spectacular movies.

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