Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris
Release Date: December 19, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem star in the visually arresting psychological thriller from filmmaker Darren Aronofsky that will leave your heart pounding and your mind blown.
From the twisted mind of notable filmmaker Darren Aronofsky comes ‘mother!’; a chilling and mysterious tale of a couple (Lawrence & Bardem) living a calm and tranquil existence amid their massive home as She painstakingly attempts to entirely renovate it while He struggles to find the inspiration for his next bit of work. Then their quiet lives are suddenly interrupted by an unknown man who arrives at their door one evening and manages to find himself invited to stay, only to be suddenly joined by his previously unmentioned wife and two sons shortly thereafter which initiates a chain of events and disturbances that promptly disrupt the couple’s happy home, much to Her increasing dismay.
Written and directed by immensely talented and unique filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Requiem For a Dream, Black Swan) who does a magnificent job at the helm of ‘mother!’ guiding this strange and uneasy tale along with passion and as only he could. The film also owes a tremendous amount of credit to the incredibly talented individuals that comprise the cast including Jennifer Lawrence (‘The Hunger Games’ franchise), Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men), Ed Harris (A History Of Violence), Michelle Pfeiffer (Dangerous Minds) and more, nearly all delivering noteworthy performances in each of their respective roles and therefore really allowing this peculiar tale to work as well as it does.
‘mother!’ is a magnificent film unlike anything else I’ve experienced, well ever. Make no mistake that the film is an acquired taste and the majority of moviegoers hoping to merely escape with an enjoyable movie will want to avoid this one at all costs. But that’s not to say this isn’t an expertly crafted film in most regards as it assaults the viewer with an eerie, uncertain and darkly beautiful ride that is as mind warping and unnerving as it is oddly gorgeous and moving. Daring to take things in a wildly different direction than most filmmakers would ever even contemplate, Darren Aronofsky expertly crafts a nightmarish, dreamlike world that he himself referred to as a sort of “fever dream” and for those able to let themselves let go enough to be swept along by his powerful tale it will definitely take you on one truly original and unique journey that forms into something truly special combined with the powerful performances from the talented cast which is led by Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Barden who are each phenomenal. As the conflicting opinions of the film by critics alone hint at, ‘mother!’ most certainly is not a film for everyone and many folks will be so wrought with confusion and bewilderment that they’ll likely be unable to get beyond what is presented on the forefront which can be quite confusing, particularly throughout much of the film’s course. Yet those who appreciate odd, twisted and uncompromising films that refuse to play by the more familiar patterns many moviegoers expect and are likely to thoroughly appreciate the oddness infused by majestic imagery ‘mother!’ offers will probably want to at least give this one a chance, as will longtime fans of director Darren Aronofsky’s work. It’s a strange, dark and dreary film that can change pace in a blink and offers fantastic performances from its star studded cast, all expertly guided by Aronofsky ‘s talented guidance. While many will undoubtedly despise this radically unique tale, others won’t want to dream of missing out on this twisted and original masterpiece.
Overall, ‘mother!’ is a dark, gloomy and peculiar film that is far from what you’re liable to expect, but for those able to embrace its odd, mesmerizing nature it will take you along on a tense, mind blowing and at times truly brutal journey that’s expertly guided by talented filmmaker Darren Aronofsky and further complimented by tremendous performances from a spectacular cast that nary disappoints. Many will surely either have no interest or will utterly detest this abnormal tale, but for those such as me that either love Aronofsky’s unique films in general or simply tend to enjoy a peculiar, twisted and uncompromising piece of filmmaking unlike anything you’ve previously experienced, I can’t recommend ‘mother!’ strongly enough. It’s a mesmerizing, gorgeous and unsettling dark fairy tale of sorts that is guaranteed to remain with you long after the final scene and is not to be missed. For those at all interested in the film, it should stand a good chance of proving itself worthy of your time and the cost of a rental, but it’s likely not one most folks will want to just go out and purchase blindly prior to viewing.
The Blu-ray release of ‘mother!’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks great as a whole and provides a sharp and crisp presentation throughout that still retains some grain and other artifacts representative of it being shot on actual film, much of it apparently filmed in 16MM. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit and chaotic sequences, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a solid high definition video presentation from Paramount that should please the film’s fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack compliments the film perfectly and provides a calm, composed audio presentation when necessary and a wildly aggressive and insanely activity presentation at other times. It takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send aggressive barrages of gunfire, debris, crowd activity and more from every speaker at times and always making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously remain clear and fully audible. Overall, this is a wonderful Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it and balances the drastic differences in activity with ease.
The Blu-ray release of ‘mother!’ includes a couple worthwhile extras in the form of 2 Behind the Scenes Featurettes that take viewers deeper into bringing the film to life and including interviews/comments with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘mother!: The Downward Spiral’ (running approximately 30 minutes in length) and ‘The Makeup FX of mother!’ (running approximately 7 minutes).