8.5/10 I had extremely high hopes for this film and had it as my 4th Most Anticipated Film of 2017. It comes from one of my top 3 favorite directors of all time, Darren Aronofsky, whose films I adore. This is easily the most divisive film of 2017. Some people HATED this film while others LOVED it, with not much in between. The people who hated it I don’t think knew what to expect or what they were getting into. Most thought it was a haunted house/typical horror film like Lawrence’s “House at the End of the Street,” but a little darker. The trailers didn’t really show what kind of film it truly was but I am thankfully they didn’t give away key plot points either. I am definitely a fan of this film but realize that, due to its graphic content, it’s not for everyone. I loved so much about this film. How ballsy it is kind of makes me surprised that it got greenlit by a major movie studio (good on you, Paramount). I love the plot and how its first half is very Biblical and the last half hour really shows how poorly humans treat this planet that we are on. Since I am very big into environmental issues and overpopulation, the films messages really struck a chord with me. It is a pessimistic film with a stern warning to humans that I think we need to pay attention to. The film is very graphic and shocked a lot of people but people should really be shocked at what us as a species have done to this planet. My environmental opinions aside, the film is extremely well made and acted. Jennifer Lawrence is in practically every scene and she carries the film very well. The supporting cast is fantastic too, with no weak links in the acting chain. The visual effects look great and although the production design is very limited, they made this contained story really look good and gave it some scope. This is maybe the only film I can think of off the top of my head with no film score or soundtrack. There is one rave song that plays near the end but I really appreciated how this film knows how to use and utilize silence to tell its story. Some film makers think you need music in every scene but seasoned directors like Aronofsky know that that’s not always the case. Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, along with their two house guests and their sons all represent either Biblical characters or in the case of Lawrence, something else. I won’t say what/who they represent specifically here in case some people take that to be a spoiler but if you don’t know what/who they represent when you watch it the first time, watch it a second time knowing that information and you will get a lot more out of it. I saw this film twice and got more out of it the second time. My biggest complaint would be that the film is in absolutely no way subtle and I think some more subtlety would have helped a bit. Having it be hard to watch in scenes will also probably make this a one-time viewing for many who do see it. Kristen Wiig also has a small role that seems out of place and is more of a distraction. An unknown actress or someone less comedic would have been more fitting. A lot of people will be turned off by the film due to its graphic nature (if you are an Aronofsky fan, then you know most of his movies are pretty graphic) but these are the kinds of original, thought provoking, discussion sparking films that we need, especially when the message of the film couldn’t be more relevant and timely.
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