THE BREAKDOWN with SUNSHINE - Darren Aronofsky

The Breakdown:

Though IT is dominating the buzz for movies coming out in September, we are also getting a surprise treat in that Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! will also be released this month. For that reason we dive into the work of the film’s dark and thought provoking director.

Aronofsky Breakdown.JPG

Critical/Public Response

Aronofsky gains his biggest critical success from 2008 film, The Wrestler. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone as the film perfectly crafts the story of a washed-up wrestler dealing with struggles inside and outside the ring. It is also worth mentioning that Aronofsky pulls out two amazing performances from Marisa Tomei and Mickey Rourke, which gains both actors Academy Award nominations. However, you can’t always please the fans. Film goers had a tough time enjoying 2006’s The Fountain, with the general consensus that the movie looks great but has a story that is tough to connect to. Dana Stevens from Slate probably has my favorite review, saying “The Fountain is the story of a gifted artist who dared to reach for the stars and paid for his ambition with a really stupid movie.” I disagree as I enjoyed the film but overall, The Fountain doesn’t hurt the director too much as his Response Score still sits at 74.67

Financial Impact

It seems strange to me that a director, that most consider to appeal to film student crowd vs the blockbuster movie goer, has such heavy hitters financially. I guess it is never a smart move to underestimate the power of the American public and their love of biblical stories and Natalie Portman/Mila Kunis sex scenes. Black Swan is the type of movie that studios dream about. Not only did it cost a measly $13 Million, but it grossed over $300 Million worldwide?! That type of efficiency is pretty tough to top. Throw in 2014’s Noah, not a critical success but still a positive financial venture, and you get an addition $237 Million in profit. This makes Aronofsky a director that studios will love. Not only is he going to bring studios awards and critical accolades, but he is also going to bring in money and just as Gordon Gekko would say, “It’s all about the bucks, kid.”

Darren Aronofsky’s Financial Impact: $573,717,936

The Defining Style

Aronofsky films are constantly a bleak look into the lives of others as he explores the need for belonging. In his early work, Aronofsky uses quick cuts to tell the story of his characters battling their inner demons. Pi and Requiem For a Dream both act as mosaics, piecing together strong imagery to create a dark experience. The average movie uses somewhere between 600-700 cuts while Requiem uses close to 2,000. These quick edits allow for us to experience the full gambit of the emotions of his characters without wasting any time. What else separates Aronofsky from his peers? The man is ambitious. Not just ambitious like your co-worker, Deborah, who keeps getting coffee for your boss and working 80-hour work weeks ambitious, but let’s take big f*cking chances and hope they pay off ambitious. (Side note: Knock it off Deborah, you are wrecking the curve!) What do I mean? I’m talking about ambition that says, “Let’s see what happens when I tell the story of Noah and the Ark my own way.” I’m talking about ambition that says, “Let’s make a terrifying monster-flick that hides itself in a Oscar-worthy drama about the ballet.” I’m talking about ambition that casts Mickey Rourke as your lead in a drama whose success is totally reliant on the performance of your main character.  I don’t know if he is lucky or if he is a genius and though some might argue, I believe that the risks have been worth the reward.

That’s a Wrap

Aronofsky has been putting uncomfortable and tense moments onto the silver screen for years and it looks as if Mother! is going to be more of the same. He always seems to find the perfect color palette for the story he telling and he continues to set his personal bar high in what his movies can achieve. Though his movies all seem to get mostly positive responses, each film seems to have audiences on the fence. My thoughts are different. In the end, it’s all nice…..except for Noah. Noah was mediocre.

Response Score: 74.67

Financial Impact: $573,717,936

Years Active: 1991-Present (26 Years)

Sunshine’s Rankings

Black Swan (2010) 10/10

The Wrestler (2008) 10/10

Pi (1998) 9/10

Requiem for a Dream (2000) 8/10

The Fountain (2006) 8/10

Noah (2014) 6/10