Plot : A secluded couple have unexpected visitors . They out-stay their welcome.
Director : Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan and The Wrestler)
Where to begin with this one? I went into the cinema blind for this one . Knowing literally nothing about a film is rare for me. Having finished the film I immediately watched the trailer to see how they could have possibly angled it.
And the answer is; they couldn’t . The trailer has this film under the guise of a thriller or home invasion movie and never really gets into the core the story (using story loosely).
+This film is an art house piece that has a large budget and well established actors. Let me start by talking about what I appreciated .
Now notice I said appreciated rather than liked. As with lots of art I don’t think you necessarily have to enjoy it to see why it works or should be admired.
The acting is sublime, Jennifer Lawrence as the main cast member will receive praise and Javier Bardem is just as deserving.
The film delves deep into your subconscious and creates a dreamlike atmosphere , the plot is unpredictable as it goes out of its way to shatter expectation to create a truly surreal feeling for the audience.
The set design works well to conjure the feelings of claustrophobia and intrusion . The film is set in one house for the duration and the set subtly changes appearance to allow the uncanny to be expressed expertly .
The film develops its themes well and is thought provoking with its imagery. The house can be seen as an allegory for earth and Bardem’s character can be seen as man or mankind as well as God. Lawrence’s character, the titular Mother! in turn is seen as mother nature . The dark parts of this film act as a commentry as to how manykind is treating the world.
And of course this wouldn’t be complete without Biblical metaphors which this film never shy’s from.
This film leaves you with very little time to breath , the story moves quickly and due to its often bizarre and frustrating nature of film there is no time to really take in what is happening . This is done deliberately but it makes the film unrelenting and it would benefit from some moments of calm.
This film successfully mixes a number of tropes from different genres to create its tone. Horror being one of the main ones. Mother! gets increasingly intense moving from psycological horror to physical. The climatic few minutes pushes this too far with an unessesarily gory scene. This scene plays its role thematically but there were “nicer” ways to convey the message. Three audience members (out of 30 or so) left at this stage.
If you are expecting a run-of-the-mill psychological thriller then look elsewhere ! This is an art house film that seeks to deal with the themes of intrusion, violation and safety in one’s home.
The characters are well acted and the direction great. That being said it is a difficult watch and an almost impossible re-watch. You will leave the screen disturbed which is the intention. It is thought provoking but at times slightly pretentious.
I would recommend but only so others can see something truly unique.