Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Darren Aronofsky’s new film, “Mother!”, seems to have been polarising critical opinion, with even connoisseur of creepiness Mark Kermode expressing confusion. It stars Javier Bardem as a writer, but focusses on Jennifer Lawrence as his young wife – indeed for the vast majority of the running-time, the camera either focuses on her face or reflects her increasingly panicked point of view.
The couple share a hermetic existence in a large, isolated house which she is busy refurbishing as he tries to overcome his writers’ block. This is interrupted by a knock on the door from Ed Harris as a doctor, who turns out to be a fan of Bardem's work and who, at his invitation, quickly makes himself at home. Soon, his blousy wife, Michelle Pfeiffer arrives, and it turns out that this is far from being the last or most disturbing intrusion. After a traumatic event, things seem to settle down, until the climax, when everything goes to hell.

The easiest way to interpret “Mother!” is as a depiction of the creative process – the artist needs emotional disruption (either first- or second-hand) in order to be inspired; then, once a piece of work is completed, it is handed over to audiences and critics to do with as they see fit.

It is certainly an intense watch, with echoes of filmmakers as diverse as Polanski, Bunuel and Cronenberg. Lawrence is as watchable as ever, but the ensemble as a whole is very strong, in service of Aronofsky’s nightmarish vision. One is always grateful for powerful, non-generic storytelling, but I’m not sure I want to repeat the experience in a hurry.


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