Darren Aronofsky's 'mother!' is a fantastical rollercoaster (TIFF review)by burnsting
Director Darren Aronofsky delivers a quite stunning and refreshing take on the traditional horror story. But one that's definitely not for everyone.
Like any rollercoaster ride, the story of 'mother!' starts simple. A loving couple live in a remote old house. She (Jennifer Lawrence) is remodeling the house while he (Javier Bardem) writes. Or at least, he wants to. He's been without inspiration for some time, and subsequently getting frustrated with her as well.
When a man (Ed Harris) arrives at their home, he's happy with the distraction, and hoping to get some new inspiration for his writing. But she just wants to be left alone, and doesn't trust any visitors. Especially when the man's wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) suddenly shows up as well.
Their story quickly derails after that. But while Aronofsky's 'Requiem for a Dream' (2000) and 'Black Swan' (2010) derailed the female protagonist on a small rollercoaster ride too, this one goes a bit further. This story goes from bad to worse, to hell! And during the press conference Aronofsky even admitted they might've gone a little bit too far with this one.
While I don't want to spoil too much for you, there are many layers to the horror story. Simple ones anyone can appreciate, like the narcissistic writer and the relationship with his much younger girlfriend. His need for adoration and an audience, at any cost. Or the biblical references one might not instantly pick up on.
But not looking at the story, it's simply a stunning, bold display. There's some incredible cinematography and the pace and rhythm create the perfect buildup for an incredible explosion in the end.
The cast, all at their best, are perfectly suited for their roles. The soundtrack is subtle, not as memorable as say 'Requiem for a Dream'. And the sets and effects model the house as another daunting character in the story.
It's an experience a certain audience will quickly dismiss as ridiculous, while others will describe it as brilliant. As a fan of the director's previous work, I'm going with brilliant. But only time will tell if this is just a quick first observation, or that it will turn into a cult classic for all the wrong reasons.
'mother!' is one of the most exorbitant films at #TIFF17 and will premiere worldwide in the coming weeks.