Nick over at The Cinematic Katzenjammer is hosting the Director’sChair this month, and this is my first time participating so I’m a little all over the place with it. The director this month was Darren Aronofsky, which was kind of amazing since I really respond to him as a director, but I had no clue what I wanted to write and where I wanted to take this!
When thinking over the approach I wanted to take to this particular write up, I instantly thought of the one thing that makes me appreciate Aronofsky as such a force of nature; his visual prowess. The fact remains that you could watch any of Darren’s film on silent and still feel compelled and even engaged by every frame. You can follow his thought process and his manipulative tones just by watching each frame pass by. The strength in all of his films can be seen and wholly experienced by pouring ourselves into the live frames.
I’ve personally seen none of Darren’s short films, but I’ve seen all of his feature films. From ‘Pi’ to ‘Black Swan’, Aronofsky has honed his directorial aggression and created a very respectable resume that shows the range he’s developed and the maturity he’s come into. Watching ‘Pi’ and then watching ‘Black Swan’ is a remarkable swing because you can see all the raw potential actually translate into something truly breathtaking.
It may seem odd to say that I feel Aronofsky’s career up to this point (excluding but wholly anticipating the upcoming ‘Noah’) is bookmarked by his least successful efforts (as a whole I can only truly appreciate but not love both ‘Pi’ and ‘Black Swan’) and yet ‘Black Swan’ truly marks the peak of his directorial bravado. Yes, he’s at the top of his game (even if the script he’s working from is not).
So then it comes to reviewing his work. I questioned myself here. I didn’t really want to pick just ONE film, because he’s the rare director for which I’ve actually seen all of his work, but I didn’t want to ramble for so long that this post became tiring. So that brings me back to my initial paragraph. When thinking about this particular markup, I thought of the visuals more than anything else. Darren Aronofsky is a visual director and his films soar in that regard. Why not use screenshots from the film to evaluate their overall impact?
I’ll give this a try.
Pi (1998) **/*****
|A tad pretentious|
|It made me tired|
|But then BAM, it was rewardingly WTF|
|Overall, I looked like this a lot|
|Manic in stylization|
|Made me open my eyes|
The Fountain (2006) ****/*****
|A spiritual experience|
|Surprisingly claustrophobic in it's expression of ideas|
|Dripping with style|
The Wrestler (2008) *****/*****
|Broader than one would assume|
|Gritty and daring|
Black Swan (2010) ***/*****
|Unashamed of it's childish tones|
|Felt somewhat constipated|
So there you have it! I hope it was worth while. I had fun compiling it! Can't wait to read what everyone else has come up with!