Monday, January 17, 2011

Aronofsky: A Director Obessed

Aronofsky's films are about obsessions and the destruction that they bring. In each of his films the protagonist suffers significant loss as a result of his/her obsession. Whether it is a reclusive math genius obsessed with running calculations on pi that will allow him to decode hidden patterns in both the stock market and the Qabala [Pi 1998]; a trio of junkies addicted to heroin and a lonely and overweight Jewish widow obsessed with being a possible game-show contestant, and fixated on stuffing herself back into a favorite red dress for her date with stardom [Requiem for a Dream 2000]; a husband/scientist searching for a cure for death/immortality [The Fountain 2006];  a nearly washed-up wrestling star who had his heyday during the 1980s and has been struggling ever since to regain everything that he had lost [The Wrestler 2008]; or a child-woman ballerina who is obsessed with being perfect [Black Swan 2010] all end up being destroyed.  

The title of Aronofsky's second film, Requiem for a Dream, best describes the consequences due to the destructive nature of obsessions. In Requiem for a Dream the four characters suffer addiction, electroshock therapy, amputation, incarceration, and sexual degradation. In Pi the protagonist increasingly suffers from migraines and paranoid episodes ending his torment ends through self-mutilation.  In his next two films, The Fountain and the Wrestler, alienation and death are the tolls extracted for their obsessions. In his latest film, Black Swan, the pursuit of perfection ends in both triumph and suicide.

I stornly recommend seeing each of his films with the exception of The Fountain. I am not a huge Hugh Jackman fan nor did I like the storyline. It is the furthest from the theme of the destructive nature of obsessions, however the visuals are interesting.

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