Director Darren Aronofsky has had a fairly diverse career. With mother! opening this weekend, it’s an appropriate time to take a look back at his films. While I haven’t dug that deep into the acclaimed directors filmography, these three films are some of the best films of recent memory in addition to some of his best.
Requiem For a Dream (2000)
Hypnotic, dreamy and harrowing, Aronofsky’s spellbinding look into heroin addiction is among his best. While it isn’t a film I am dying to watch again, Requiem for a Dream is a film that sticks with you. Featuring several gripping performances from the likes of Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly and Ellen Burstyn, its sometimes graphic depictions of heroin use can be hard to watch at times. Nonetheless, this is a movie everyone who loves movies should watch at least one time. It is perhaps his most heartbreaking film with an ending that will leave you deflated.
The Wrestler (2008)
Robbed of an Oscar, Mickey Rourke gives the performance of his career in the heart-wrenching The Wrestler. The Wrestler‘s nuanced, authentic filmmaking style highlights Rourke’s stunning performance. It’s very different than anything Aronofsky has done to this point. In a way, it’s the least flashy film he’s made to date, and that’s a good thing. It doesn’t have the imagery of films like Requiem for a Dream, and still it’s a wonderful piece of filmmaking. I’m still waiting for Sean Penn to hand his Oscar to Mr. Rourke.
Black Swan (2010)
Featuring an Oscar winning performance from Natalie Portman, the stirring Black Swan is Aronofsky’s greatest achievement. It’s a film that is haunting from start to finish. True to his style, Aronofsky sports the unsettling images he’s come to be known for. Mila Kunis also does her best work in a film here and the always terrific Vincent Cassel gives a powerful performance. Black Swan is an intense character study and a cerebral thriller that is visually stunning and a terrific look into obsession. It’s one of the better films of the decade so far.