Darren Aronofsky


Darren Aronofsky directed:

1.          Noah (2014)

Review: ‘Noah’ Doesn’t Quite Work, But See It Anyway

„There is so much that is compelling, thoughtful, and openly challenging about Darren Aronofksy’s Noah that it is unfortunate that the film doesn’t quite gel. There are moments of visual splendor and moments of morbid contemplation that views that Biblical stories in real-world terms. Aronofsky has attempted what amounts to an emotionally realistic Biblical epic, one that openly embraces the fantastical and acknowledges the horrible. But, as a whole, they have taken a Biblical story and reshape it into a more conventional fantasy epic. Even with a surprising third act turn, the film sometimes plays like a Bible story filtered through the lens of a Snow White and the Huntsman -type re-imagining.

When the film works, it’s frankly a corker. Russell Crowe gives his best star turn in several years, and the film exists in a fascinating pre-flood version of Earth which literally looks and feels like a different world. And the picture makes at least an effort to openly deal with the horrifying implications of God (or “the Creator”) wiping out ever living thing on Earth. There are moments during the flood that are truly jolting, even if the picture doesn’t adequately succeed in equating Noah’s neighbors (a comparably small number) with the population of the planet. Still, there is some horrifying imagery to behold as the world drowns.

The rather obvious presentation of Noah as what amounts to an environmentalist/vegan while presenting the villains as “industrialists” who believe the world exists to serve man is both ham fisted and almost courageous considering the various would-be audience demographics for this picture. His Noah is arguably a stereotypical hippie, even as he hardens as the film goes on. While the gigantic stone creatures called “Watchers” (fallen angels no less) do look like Transformers, they do provide some stunning visuals. What happens when they die is pretty incredible.

Where the film falters is in the need to take this relatively short story into a three act structure reaching the required 2 hour+ length for an “epic”. Ray Winstone’s character has little purpose in the film save to have a “villain” who can cause a rather silly and conventional mass battle scene just before the flood and engages in mortal combat in the film’s climax. Jennifer Connelly is wasted as Noah’s wife, as she is given absolutely nothing of interest to do or say save for one third act beat. The genuinely interesting subplot involves Emma Watson as the love interest of Noah’s oldest son.

Her role in the story allows the film to explore some interesting family dynamics as well as go for the proverbial jugular in its third act. Noah’s third act character turn that probably caused Paramount to be somewhat squeamish about press screenings. The film is at its best when it is presenting Noah as a genuine fanatic, sure in his belief that all of humanity, even himself and his family, must be punished for their sins. That he may in fact be talking to God doesn’t negate the insanity of his logic and his choices. It’s fascinating to watch Noah slowly turn into a variation on Nicholas Ray’s Bigger Than Life.

The director comes alive most in these portions, as Noah becomes yet another Aronofsky study in perfectionist obsession and addiction (Ray Winstone ironically looks made up like Mickey Rourke). When Noah plays like Aronofsky making a Bible epic made “real”, it comes alive with an almost courageous mix of grounded realism and lunacy. But the picture cannot sustain that madness for its 128-minute running time, and too few of the characters outside of Noah himself register much interest. And the film bends to convention just enough to be noticeable.

There is much that is good and unhinged about Noah, and I would recommend seeing it (in IMAX, natch) for its visual splendor and its periodically challenging ideas. Too much of Noah feels like the result of studio meetings of how to convert the story of the flood into a more traditional film. As tempting as it is to give the films bonus points for its pre-release controversies, the preemptive outrage feels little different than what has greeted the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film save for the elevated public stature of the participants.

There is great material to be found in the finished product, but the picture makes you work for it. When Noah plays like “Darren Aronofsky presents The Bible” it is a must-see entertainment for all who appreciate somewhat outside-the-box blockbusters. But too much of the film lumbers through arbitrary genre elements and periodic tone changes. As someone who appreciates big films with interesting ideas and/or unconventional artistic choices, Noah deserves a recommendation on principle alone. But in truth I appreciated what Noah was about more than how it was about it.

So Noah doesn’t quite work. But I’m glad that they tried. You should see it anyway.”

(review by Scott Mendelson,    http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2014/03/28/review-noah-doesnt-quite-work-see-it-anyway/ )

2.      Black Swan (2010)


3.       The Wrestler (2008)


 4.      The Fountain (2006) – a movie that combines religious and phylosophical symbols to convey the idea that death is  just the beginning of life, a full and unaltered existence ready to be shaped again into everything possible. Individual destiny and world’s destiny follow the same cycle of  death and rebirth, while the body is just a temporary container. Therefore,  the essence of life reveals itself only when accepting death as a journey to the Whole.  The Fountain wraps itself into an aura of sadness, emphasized by Clint Mansell’s music, only to give more strength to the optimistic message it carries. A phylosophic-visual meditation about life, death and devotion.


 5.      Requiem for a Dream (2000) – a psychological poetic study on the mind of a drug addict. Again, a collaboration with Clint Mansell.


 6.      Pi (1998) – an accurate image of the fact that, sometimes, paranoia and wisdom are very similar. Thrilling, interesting, a feast for the eye.



~ de AlinaT pe 30/06/2009.

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