Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kristen Wiig, Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson, Jovan Adept, Stephen McHattie
Darren Aronofsky delivers an incomprehensible pretentious psychological horror, that gathered many boos at the 74th Venice Film Festival’s press screening. The writer-director explained the film as a narrative that “begins as a chamber story about a marriage. At the center is a woman who is asked to give and give and give until she can give nothing more. Eventually, the chamber story can’t contain the pressure boiling inside. It becomes something else.”
The top-notch cast is wasted on poor interpretations. Actors are directed to perform in an overly grotesque and cliche manner. Jennifer Lawrence embodies the Madonna-esque female, obedient to her man and the perfect angel of the hearth, until motherhood makes her rebel from the egotistic narcissism of her much older husband, played by Javier Bardem. A variety of absurd occasions unfold, that put the couple’s relationship to the test, when a man (Ed Harris) and a woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) arrive at their home uninvited. Answering that knock disrupts the tranquil existence of the husband and wife, as more and more guests arrive. The docile lady of the house, will thus be obliged to revisit everything she knows about love, devotion and sacrifice.
The film serves as a net of allegories that are intricate and never fully untangle from dull common place. The Inferno-like madhouse that takes over the couple’s home creates expectations: audiences start wondering whether the entire story is a figment of the protagonist’s imagination. But this option drowns in ambiguity. Aronofsky’s confusing trip is indecisive on the path to track. It doesn’t choose between realism and hallucination. Pandora’s box is opened to unleash all the evil of this world and contrarily to Greek mythology not even Hope is left. Nor for the characters, nor for the spectators’ expectations.
Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi