One of the most experimental and brilliant directors who’s films I am lucky enough to have seen grace the silver screen in the last 17 years is Darren Aronofsky.
Aronofskys directorial debut came back in 1998 when he directed π . Despite still being in college π was funded through the donations of family and friends.
π which is about the struggle of a man (Sean Gullette) with immense intelligence who is trying to unlock the stock market and the world through numbers. However everything becomes to much for Gullette’s character and he becomes mad. The film quickly became a cult phenomena and Aronofsky was making a bit of a name for himself. Then in 2000 came the iconic Requiem for a Dream.
The film which was adapted from Hubert Selby jr’s book of the same name starred Jared Leto , Jennifer Connolly and Ellen Burnstyn in what can only be called one of the most brilliantly edgy and chilling films of the modern era. The film which is famous for the copious amounts of drugs that are consumed in the film featured some superb performances which led to an Oscar nomination for Ellen Burnstyn.
Burnstyn who played Sara Goldfarb the mother of Jared Leto’ s character Harry has the dream of going onto a television show but becomes addicted to slimming tablets. The film deals again with the issue of madness as Burnstyn’ s character deteriotes both physically and mentally.
Jared Leto’s character Harry has his own drug issues along with girlfriend Marion played by Jennifer Connolly who will at times will do anything for heroin. The film also featured the famous Lux Aeterna soundtrack by former ‘Pop will eat Itself’ frontman Clint Mansell. Lux Aeterna went onto feature in the trailor for ‘Lord of the Rings The Two Towers’.
His third film followed 6 years later called The Fountain. The film saw Aronofsky entrusted with a huge budget and was set to star Brad Pitt until he pulled out. Australian Hugh Jackman came in and filled the sizeable void left from one of Hollywoods most famous actors. The Fountain told the story of a man (Hugh Jackman) in three different worlds trying to keep his wife alive which was played by Aronofsky’s ex girlfriend Rachel Weisz .
The latest creation was slated by critics but the science fiction film which was incredibly experimental still gained a cult following. One of Aronofsky’s biggest successes came when he directed The Wrestler which was released in 2008. The film was brilliant and was Aronofsky’s first journey into the world of sports films.
Mickey Rourke played a wrestler who in the latter stages of his career meets a stripper played by the brilliant Marisa Tomei. Both Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei were both nominated for Oscars, and deservedly so as this film like Requiem for a Dream was absolutely brilliant.
The story had similarities to Rocky but I feel the edginess of Aronofsky made the film incredibly special and full of passion. Still without personal recognition from the Academy, Aronofsky went onto direct Black Swan which hit the cinemas in 2010. Finally the nomination for best director came for the American director.
Black Swan is up there with the best films of the decade in my opinion. Natalie Portman was simply incredible as a ballet dancer who wanted to become the lead in Swan Lake. While some directors yearn for edginess, it pours from Aronofsky. The final scene is phenomenal and is a much see for anybody who hasn’t seen the film yet. While Aronofsky lost out on the best director award, Natalie Portman won the gong for best actress.
Lastly, and most probably his most unsuccessful film Noah came out in cinemas in 2014 starred Russell Crowe, Emma Watson and Ray Winstone told the biblical story of Noahs ark. Aronofsky was heavily criticized for many aspects of the film including the now infamous ‘rock monsters’. There’s no hiding how poor this film is, both Crowe and Winstone give weak performances while being involved in of the strangest films I’ve ever seen.
Noah however is a mere blot on the c.v of a simply brilliant director who can create such wonderfully crafted films that encapsulates so many different emotions and does something that little bit different.