An In-depth Look at Visionary Director: Darren Aronofsky
With his hit new film, Black Swan, already being considered for awards, Darren Aronofsky is undoubtedly an immensely influential director. Almost all of his films are hits, and feature a dark style. Today I’m going to take an in-depth look at his career and the different films he has directed.
Darern Aronofsky was born February 12, 1969. He is an extremely influential and successful director, and undoubtedly one of my personal favorites. His films have accumulated over 24 award wins/nominations, and stilling. He is generally recognized for his extremely dark films, and eerie visual style. I have seen every one of his films, but today I will be talking about his 3 most successful: Requiem for a Dream (2000), The Wrestler (2009), and Black Swan (2010)!
Though Pi was his first film in 1998, Requiem for a Dream is the film that really launched off his career. The film received a total of three award wins, and six nominations, including an Oscar. All this is for a very good reason: Requiem for a Dream is an intense, surreal film. It is considered a masterpiece, and perhaps one of the best films of all time! It was controversial, beautiful, and intense.
The story of Requiem for a Dream follows several people whose lives interlock due to the same problem: drug addiction. Several different characters are addicted to drugs, and it completely rips their lives apart. This film is most well known for it’s gritty and surreal approach to the tough subject, and it was absolutely brutal. It earned itself an MPAA rating of NC-17, which Aronofsky was outraged about. He released the DVD as “unrated” but an edited version is also available.
Requiem for a Dream is undoubtedly his most widely recognized film, and it is based off of a novel of the same name. Throughout the films there are eerie dream sequences, surreal visuals, and intense psychological suspense. These are motifs that Aronofksy utilizes across almost all of his films, especially his latest hit: Black Swan.
Cover of Black Swan, via MovieMash
Black Swan is already in the running for four golden globes, and there is a lot of speculation that it will receive some Oscar’s as well. It is, in essence, quite similar to Requiem for a Dream. It his the similar themes of self-destruction, the eerie dream sequences, the suspense, and the surrealism. However, the story is quite different.
Black Swan follows a ballerina, who is slowing losing her sanity. She simply cannot take the pressure, and she is an absolute perfectionist. Yes, she is extremely self-destructive, just like all of the drug addicts in Requiem for a Dream. Personally, I think Black Swan is Aronofsky’s most brilliant film yet, utilizing all of his signature aspects to the absolute fullest!
Another, more risque aspect that Aronofsky likes to incorporate into his films is graphic sexual content. In both Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, there are graphic lesbian sex scenes. Part of the reason Requiem for a Dream got the NC-17 rating was because of the graphic sex. However, Aronofksy stuck to it, and it was completely beneficial in the end. The “graphic sex” aspect of Aronofsky shows his devotion to making his films both gritty and surreal. He also seems to go for a lot of shock value, but not in a cheap way.
Cover of The Wrestler [Blu-ray]
The Wrestler is the last film that earned Aronofsky a lot of respect. It is extremely different than any other film he has done, in many ways. It follows an old man, down on his luck. His wrestling career was once thriving, but is now failing. He has no positive relationship with his family, and a depressing life overall. There is no surrealism in this film, and the imagery is not at all similar to Aronofsky’s other work. However, his reoccurring themes are ever present in this film! From self destruction, to graphic sexual material, to an overall loss of sanity: The Wrestler, though extremely unique from his other work, echoes Aronofsky’s themes!
I think the fact that Aronofsky can make three distinguishable films, with highly different styles, stories, and cast that echo the same message and has similar symbolism/motifs is one of the coolest thing a director can do. And he does it very well. Through his dark messages and stories, you would partially expect Aronofsky to have some kind of criminal history, but that is completely false! He is clean, and he is a very intelligent, brilliant man.
Overall, Darren Aronofsky is one of the most influential, successful directors of the decade. His films are brilliant, and they all echo the same message. Go check out his latest film, Black Swan, in theaters now!