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Review: ‘Mother!’ Is a Divine Comedy, Dressed as a Psychological Thriller

Not that Mr. Aronofsky follows any famous devout path, any some-more than he did in “Noah,” that dissapoint some believers by holding liberties with a scriptural source. “Mother!” casts a wider net, entertainment influences from cinema — Roman Polanski, Stanley Kubrick, Gaspar Noé — from novel and, many strikingly, from painting. Mr. Aronofsky and his common cinematographer, Matthew Libatique, control a master category in light, shade and Renaissance art. Ms. Lawrence glows like an Italian Madonna, while a low lines in Mr. Bardem’s face and a melancholy expel of his eyes advise El Greco. The reprobate disharmony of a climactic sequences are pristine Hieronymus Bosch, updated for a age of Kristen Wiig and involuntary weaponry.

It falls to a actors to award this rarely symbolic, pictorially overloaded sourroundings with a clarity of tellurian existence — with strength and blood and feeling. Mr. Bardem, alpha masculine and omega man, is a kind of actor who can award an condensation with sobriety and tenderness. (He did flattering many that in “No Country for Old Men.”) The puzzling inlet of his impression in “Mother!” allows him to relax, to be witty and charismatic, and to disappear. Mr. Harris and generally Ms. Pfeiffer move a jar of shtick and a wheeze of camp, qualities that we might skip terribly when they depart.

Ms. Lawrence, for her part, bears an unfit burden. In thespian terms, she is a passive, reactive protagonist, a naught and, in a despotic clarity of a word, an icon. Called on to consolidate all of womankind — and a lot else besides — she is denied a possibility to be human, and her blankness empties a film of romantic power.

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What it has, instead, is impracticable prodigy and churning egghead energy. Mr. Aronofsky is a specialist of mood and timing, a clinging tyro of form and technique straining to be a convincing visionary. But as furious and provocative as his images can be, there is something blank — an component of strangeness, of difficulty, of a kind of impulse that overrides small cleverness.

On a other hand, “Mother!” done me giggle harder and some-more frequently than only about any other film I’ve seen this year. we don’t contend this derisively. Mr. Aronofsky’s visible wit and dexterous, trained camera movements emanate frissons of comic terror. His present for escalation — transparent in a miraculous crescendo of demoniac movement that occupies many of a movie’s second half — might be unmatched in his era of filmmakers.

It’s not transparent that his gifts compare his ambitions. He wants to be Kubrick, though maybe what we need is a new Blake Edwards. At a time when film comedy is mostly a written and psychical event — a domain of writers and clowns — there is a default of humorous directors with Mr. Aronofsky’s worldly chops. If he didn’t take himself so seriously, he could be a good comic filmmaker. But maybe “Mother!” proves that he already is.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/13/movies/mother-review-jennifer-lawrence-darren-aronofsky.html