Oct 052020

Requiem for a Dream to say the least isn’t entirely a pleasant movie but with the great performances, especially Ellen Burstyn, with the compelling enough storylines, my second viewing of this was more positive.



Requiem for a Dream
— 20th Anniversary | Director’s Cut —

Genre(s): Drama
Lionsgate | Unrated – 102 min. – $22.99 | October 13, 2020

Date Published: 10/05/2020 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Writer(s): Hubert Selby Jr. (book); Hubert Selby Jr. and Darren Aronofsky (screenplay)
Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, Christopher MacDonald, Keith David

Features: Audio Commentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scene, Interviews
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2

Audio: English (Dolby Atmos)
Video : 2160p/Widescreen 1.85
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C

Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

Note: The screen captures were taken from the Blu-ray disc and do not represent the 4K Ultra HD transfer.

THE MOVIE — 4½/5

Plot Synopsis: Imaginatively evoking the inner landscape of human beings longing to connect, to love and feel loved, the film is a parable of happiness gloriously found and tragically lost. Requiem for a Dream tells parallel stories that are linked by the relationship between the lonely, widowed Sara Goldfarb (ELLEN BURSTYN) and her sweet but aimless son, Harry (JARED LETO).

The plump Sara, galvanized by the prospect of appearing on a TV game show, has started on a dangerous diet regimen to beautify herself for a national audience; film also explores the relationship between Harry and girlfriend Marion (JENNIFER CONNELLY), both with unrealistic dreams; plus Harry’s best friend Tyrone (MARLON WAYANS) and their opportunities of getting into the drug dealing business.

Quick Hit Review: Darren Aronofsky came to the indie scene with the little known, even to this day, Pi, a horror-drama that I’ve never sat down to watch. His follow-up was Requiem for a Dream, another indie flick with a more well known cast and a movie that has garnered a decent following over the years, though not sure I’d label it as a cult classic. However, it is hard-hitting, oft off-the-wall psychological drama that, and I don’t know this personally, into the mindsets of drug-fueled (both heroine and the pharmaceutical variety) hallucinations and the downward spiral of four characters. And there’s also messaging on addictions beyond drugs, but with television, done today it would be about social media and its pratfalls.

The film utilizes different camera types (mostly first-person shots, probably with the camera strapped to the actor’s chest using a harness) giving that uneasy feeling especially with each passing season with each character devolving further and further, and all with dreams (hence the title) and unrealistic and idealistic aspirations.

The biggest factor going for Requiem for a Dream is the cast, most notably Ellen Burstyn who received an Oscar nomination for her brilliant and poignant performance, one stretch in a conversation with Jared Leto, laying her heart out with being alone with a husband who  had passed a year prior and the son who left home and starting a life for himself (though in reality he’s gotten into the drug dealing business). Leto and Jennifer Connelly for their parts were fantastic together with a relationship that is slowly chipping apart. And not to be outdone, Marlon Wayans of all people was quite good. Notable, when I first saw this film back in 2000/2001, I had only known him for the horror spoof Scary Movie, so seeing him turn in a serious performance was surprising and refreshing, just a shame he didn’t do more dramas later on.

Darren Aronofsky proves himself to be a unique filmmaker and even though I wasn’t a fan of Noah and Mother was… certainly something, the other films of his were great, my favorite being Black Swan which nobody would describe as being Hollywood-ized. Requiem for a Dream is a very well done drama with societal commentary that’s probably more relevant today with people’s addiction to their phones and believing social media is real life.



This release comes with a glossy slip cover like other Lionsgate 4Ks. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Audio Commentaries:

  • Co-Writer/Director Darren Aronofsky
  • Director of Photography Matthew Libatique

Ellen Burstyn on Requiem for a Dream (16:23) is a new interview with the veteran actress recounting her role and working with Darren Aronofsky, plus how she initially was going to turn the part down. (4K UHD only)

Transcendent Moments: The Score of Requiem for a Dream (17:09) – Composer Clint Mansell discusses his inspiration for the electronic and synth score. (4K UHD only)

Revisiting Requiem for a Dream (13:16) is on the indie aspect of the film with interview by a film historian on Darren Aronofsky as a filmmaker. (4K UHD only)

On-Set 1999 (5:52) is some behind-the-scenes footage and on-location interviews with the cast and crew. (4J UHD only)

The Making of Requiem for a Dream (35:23) – Old featurette from the era that includes behind-the-scenes footage that’s more of the fly-on-the-wall variety with some overlaying commentary. (Blu-ray only)

Deleted Scenes (TRT 11:34) – There are nine scenes cut or cut down from the film for one reason or another, as explained by Aronofsky in an optional commentary track. A few are very short and were part of a sequence. (Blu-ray only)


VIDEO – 4½/5

Lionsgate releases Requiem for a Dream onto 4K Ultra HD where it’s presented in the original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and a 2160p high-definition transfer. One wouldn’t think a low budget independent film from 1999 would benefit from this format, but for the most part looked great. Detail is sharp with the natural film grain and, especially, noise is apparent and despite being a gritty film, there are some flashes of color that’s on display, most notably most scenes early on with Burstyn during the television show hallucination while black levels is deep and no obvious artifacts and not looking crushed.

AUDIO – 4¼/5

The disc comes with a new Dolby Atmos track though the Blu-ray already came with a strong DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, so there’s not a significant difference between the two by my ears. Even so, mostly manic dialogue comes across with good clarity and there is some minor ambient sounds for the surround speakers, though the strongest element is with Clint Mansell’s score is astounding in this HD audio.



Overall, Requiem for a Dream to say the least isn’t entirely a pleasant movie but with the great performances, especially Ellen Burstyn, with the compelling enough storylines, my second viewing of this was more positive (according to IMDb, I gave it a 7/10).

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