The Films of Darren Aronofsky

Tools    





Seeing mother! tonight. I might have to break the chronological order, because I have a feeling I'll want to hopefully rave about it after.
__________________
Recent Views (out of 4)
Eighth Grade- (3.5/4)
Sicario 2- (3/4)

Assassination Nation- (3/4)
Mandy- (3.5/4)



P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } Requiem For A Dream (2000)


Drug addiction has an insidious way of invading a person's life. Various substances can provide hope, epiphanies, happiness, ecstasy, peace, that you wonder how you were able to live without them before. Soon though, before you're even able to comprehend how you got there, you find yourself in the center of a black hole, spinning violently out of control. The drugs' early magic is now working against you, you lose a sense of yourself, your passion for life, your connections with others. What was once something of a support group, is now a group of bullies encircling you, laughing at you as you are brought to your knees and they overcome you, trying as hard as they can to stop you from getting back up.




The four characters at the beginning of Requiem for a Dream are living in the calm before the storm. Yes, they are drug users, but they have other hopes and ambitions for their lives. Marion, Harry, and Tyrone at first seem to be in control of things, even as in the background their fates are slowly taking a turn from which they may never be able to come back from. Then there is Harry's mother Sara, old and alone, friendly with her neighbors, loving of her son. Her life has all but passed her at this point, so her fantasy to be on her favorite infomercial is her only escape, and will be the catalyst to her downfall. Especially after she's been prescribed dieting medication so that she can slim down enough to get into her favorite red dress.



If Aronofsky proved a striking new talent with Pi, then Requiem For A Dream cemented his place as one of America's most exciting of filmmakers. Using every tool in the cinematic tool box he seduces the viewer with the films flashy style before dropping the viewer into an unforgettable abyss that seems designed to leave a person in the fetal position by the end. From repetitious montages, manic but effective editing, amplified sound design, slow motion and fast motion, incredible cinematography, Clint Mansell's classic next-level original score, and enough horrifying visuals to leave one shaken and queasy, it'd be hard pressed to not feel somewhat affected by the results. This is an intense film, extreme in content, but never tasteless or pointless. Drug addiction is not a fun experience, and Aronofsky does everything he can to appropriately convey this message. There are scenes of humanity at its most degrading, desperate, and depressing, and yet you can not once take your eyes off the screen. It's electric film making.
Roger Ebert said in his review of the film, ďAnyone under 17 who is thinking of experimenting with drugs might want to see this movie, which plays like a travelogue of hell.Ē and I couldn't agree more. Even if at the same time, it didn't stop me, but fortunately I was able to pull myself out of it in time. But I digress.


Finally, the four performances here are brilliant if heartbreaking. The way in which Jennifer Connelly portrays Marion's soul slowly evaporating throughout the film, until she is nothing but a hollow shell, is quietly haunting. Marlon Wayans easily gives his best performance of his career, making one wonder where he could have gone had he pursued more challenging and dramatic material. Leto is also without fault as a good hearted boy in the body of man, before losing himself as well. But above all else is Ellen Burstyn as Sara, in a tour-de-force and fearless performance. The fact she lost her Oscar, and most of her awards, to Julia Roberts in Erin Brokovich continues to baffle me (though had she campaigned for supporting, it probably would have brought her her second Oscar). She is transcendent and earth shattering as the loneliest of woman, without her husband and her son, in a monotonous lonely existence. This is real earth-shattering acting, you wish to save this women as she comes face to face with an all-consuming monster she was neither prepared to fight or even aware of. It's a breathtaking performance, and a career highlight from one of cinemas finest actresses.
Requiem for a Dream is a masterpiece of persuasion and immersion. Not or the weak of stomach or heart, but absolutely essential viewing for any lover of cinema. A free fall into a hellish nightmare that you will never, ever, forget.



4 out of 4



Seeing mother! tonight. I might have to break the chronological order, because I have a feeling I'll want to hopefully rave about it after.
sorry guys, some unexpected things came up today after throwing my back out at work, so mother will be seen tomorrow instead.



I won't dance. Don't ask me...
Are you crazy people really disputing the idea that The Fountain is sad?

Reasonable to think it's not just sad, or that it's more uplifting than sad, etc. But c'mon. Some of those scenes are heart-wrenching. Don't make me describe them.
Better not, because it would mean You are crazy too



I didn't quite flow with The Fountain the first and only time I saw it... I do owe it another visit though. And my current home theater set-up is top notch and therefore I feel like it's perfect for a movie that is alot about the visual/audio experience apart from the metaphoric/symbolic approach...

As for the rest of Aronofsky's movies, he's definitely one of my favourite directors...

Black Swan is pretty much a perfect movie to me. The Wrestler is, if not close, to a masterpiece.

Requiem was great, but very disturbing. I don't have the biggest of desires to watch it again. I liked Noah more than its reputation and I have yet to see Pi.



mother! (2017)

I can honestly say I have never seen another film like 'mother!'. It is a cinematic experience unrivaled, blazing its own path, and seemingly daring the audience to stick with it. Many, many, many people will hate it, and I can understand why. It offers no easy answers, and its meaning is mostly whatever you project onto it. I'm still not sure what to make of it, but I already can't wait to see it again as I'm sure a second viewing will bring even more rewards, and possibly more questions.

People have compared mother! to Requiem for a Dream for its intensity and extreme visuals and storytelling. For sure it is a grueling experience, just as much as Requiem is. Whether it is more or less so depends on the viewer, and what each viewers threshold is for tension and violence. For me they are both in the same ballpark, but by the end I was disoriented, shaken, and gobsmacked. I'd hope Aronofsky would beat me to a pulp with this one, and he did not let me down in that department.

Jennifer Lawrence is the anchor and focal point of the film, and anyone who may have their doubts about the actress (personally, I don't understand the hate she has received by people in recent years) should be blown away by what she does here. Giving an emotionally raw, bruising, performance, it is a side of her we have never seen. She is even better here than her Oscar winning performance in Silver Linings Playbook. She's in every moment of the film, the camera always close up to her face, or over the back of her shoulder, carrying the film in more ways than one and it's impossible to take your eyes off of her. The whole cast is great here, of course, especially the ever-sexy Michelle Pfeiffer playing the fiercest bitch from hell, but this is Lawrence's film all the way.

As for the direction, all I can really say is "wow". My jaw was on the floor during most of the second half, which I wouldn't dare to spoil. But the direction, or directions, the film goes in this section is mind-obliterating. It's boldly, wildly, original, and just pure-bat-****-crazy-what-the-****-is-happening-insanity. Truly, madly, deeply, nuts. And I loved every second of it. Aronofsky orchestrates the chaos like a master conductor, turning up the insanity one minute at a time. It goes off the rails in the best possible sense. You are just as confused and overwhelmed as Lawrence is, and it feels like something truly unique and unheard of before. To call it ambitious would be an understatement, and the fact that Aronofsky never once loses his grip on the film is astonishing.

I wish I could write more about why I love this film, but that would require me to spoil it, and its best to go into this as blind as possible. But have no worries, the trailer is just the tip of the iceberg, you haven't seen anything yet. mother! fried my mind and left me breathless. It's next-level bonkers film making of the highest order. Some may claim it's pretentious, pointless, crap, and I feel bad for them. But when you're staring into the face of a film this forceful and unrelenting, considering the rather cinematically taboo areas it goes (at least when it comes to mainstream releases), it's bound to split audiences in two. Fortunately, I happened to fall on the side of loving it. This is my kind of movie through and through. Thanks Darren!

4 out of 4



You can't win an argument just by being right!
Bloody fantastic write up. Cheers.



You can't win an argument just by being right!
I really am hanging out to see this but Mr D is so far unconvinced. He's the fun police. I cant remember if he watched BS with me but he did watch The Wrestler and really liked it, and also liked RFAD which I havent seen and probably wont.



mother! is getting such good reviews. I have to watch it soon
__________________
Letterboxd

Originally Posted by Iroquois
To be fair, you have to have a fairly high IQ to understand MovieForums.com.



movies can be okay...
My Ranking:

Requiem For A Dream -

Black Swan -
or
...I don't know, it depends on the day.
Pi -

The Wrestler -

The Fountain -


Can't wait to see Mother! though.
__________________
"A film has to be a dialogue, not a monologue ó a dialogue to provoke in the viewer his own thoughts, his own feelings. And if a film is a dialogue, then itís a good film; if itís not a dialogue, itís a bad film."
- Michael "Gloomy Old Fart" Haneke



I really am hanging out to see this but Mr D is so far unconvinced. He's the fun police. I cant remember if he watched BS with me but he did watch The Wrestler and really liked it, and also liked RFAD which I havent seen and probably wont.
Is Mr D you're significant other? If he's not a fan of Aronofsky he'd probably be not too fond of mother. The Wrestler is one of Aronofsky's most accessible and very grounded in reality. mother on the other hand is very abstract and is no walk in the park.

I'd highly recommend seeing it in cinemas though, as the sound design and immersion is incredible. If anything you'd have much to discuss after whether you love it or hate it.

Also if you're a fan of cinema RFAD is essential viewing. It never really disturbed me as much as other people (I can rewatch it over and over, while many say they could never watch it again), though it is a rough watch at times. But just on a film making/technical level it really needs to be seen.



This might just do nobody any good.
mother! is getting such good reviews. I have to watch it soon
Seems rather split to me. People aren't responding to an absolute allegory.



mother! is getting such good reviews. I have to watch it soon
Just go in with no expectations and don't spoil it by reading reviews. And don't try to make sense of it the first viewing, part of the experience is just going along for the ride.



Seems rather split to me. People aren't responding to an absolute allegory.
Yeah, I had quite a few walk outs in my theater. People were dead silent after. And it's viewer rating is at 49% last I checked, plus the F cinemascore (which is meaningless, anyway)



You can't win an argument just by being right!
Is Mr D you're significant other? If he's not a fan of Aronofsky he'd probably be not too fond of mother. The Wrestler is one of Aronofsky's most accessible and very grounded in reality. mother on the other hand is very abstract and is no walk in the park.

I'd highly recommend seeing it in cinemas though, as the sound design and immersion is incredible. If anything you'd have much to discuss after whether you love it or hate it.

Also if you're a fan of cinema RFAD is essential viewing. It never really disturbed me as much as other people (I can rewatch it over and over, while many say they could never watch it again), though it is a rough watch at times. But just on a film making/technical level it really needs to be seen.
He is.

I dont think he ever even considers a director's body of work. He probably doesnt even know who aronofsky is. I didnt even know who he was until Black Swan. We dont choose movies according to director.

I've seen too many comments that RFAD is depressing. I dont like depressing movies. Just not my thing. I actually have to be depressed to watch them and not interested in going into that territory



The Fountain (2006)


The Fountain was originally set with a 75 million dollar budget, with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett cast in the leads. But when Pitt and Aronofsky faced creative differences, Pitt ultimately dropped out, and the film was shut down. A couple years later the film was put back into production, only this time with a considerably lower budget of 35 million, and Hugh Jackson and Aronofsky's then wife Rachel Weisz replacing Pitt and Blanchett. The results were mixed, to say the least.

While some consider The Fountain a visionary wonder, I see it more as an ambitious misstep, a less satisfying film than it could have been had it been able to keep its larger budget and original cast. With that said, on a technical level, The Fountain is filled with gorgeous sights and sequences, and a moving original score by Clint Mansell that stands on its own as a work of art. Leave it up to Darren Aronofsky to prove that even when he stumbles, he still creates something interesting, and overflowing with aesthetically overwhelming visual wonders.

As a story, this is one's a downer, but not in any way that is actually moving or transcendent. Not that it needs to be a laugh fest or have moments of levity, but there's simply not much life to it below the surface. Near the end Aronofsky's artsy pretensions take over, but they are more silly than powerful. There are moments during this last stretch that I was sure I wasn't supposed to be giggling at, but couldn't help it. It takes itself too seriously in a wildly over-the-top way, and Hugh Jackman is miscast, failing to really convince when it matters, save for a few early scenes.

I know there are a lot of fans of this film, and I can understand why, but for this viewer The Fountain is one of the directors weakest films. Despite how pretty it is, it ultimately can't hold up its own weight and collapses in on itself. Maybe one day I'll return to it and it will speak differently to me. Then again I've already tried giving it another chance and it still didn't click. But what a film it could have been!

2 out 4



I've only seen Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, and Black Swan...I think Requiem is his masterpiece and The Wrestler is one of the most heartbreaking movies I have ever seen. Black Swan is severely overrated IMO...a lot of story inconsistencies that made it hard for me to really invest.