Anyone familiar with Darren Aronofsky‘s works know that his films are definitely one-of-a-kind. In fact, his films are bound to get some kind of reaction from viewers, as they push the boundaries of mainstream cinema. I remember watching my first Aronofsky film, and I couldn’t get it out of my head for days. Most of his works deal with themes of obsession and realism, ensuring viewers a mind-boggling experience. With this, the Oscar-nominated director is back once again with an upcoming film with Jared Leto entitled Adrift. The last time these two worked together was twenty years ago on what I think is one of Aronofsky’s most shocking films Requiem for a Dream. Whether you like some of his movies or just want to see what the fuss is all about, check out the list below as we name some of the best Darren Aronofsky movies to keep you on your toes.
Noah‘s take on this biblical story is much more personal and human, focusing on the titular character’s struggles to understand and fulfill God’s mission for him. Rather than depicting Noah as the all-obedient prophet, this film shows an ordinary man driven to the brink of insanity by the pressures weighed on him. Staying true to a typical Aronofosky film, this self-harming and obsessive character makes a compelling anti-hero. Consequently, this film is one of the most unique takes on this timeless story.
The Fountain (2006)
The Fountain is a hodgepodge of fantasy, history, spirituality, and sci-fi. It has a unique style of storytelling as it consists of 3 storylines revolving around immortality, love, and lost love between two people. In particular, a man travels through time to find the key to immortality to save the woman he loves. The first story, set in the 16th century, is about a conquistador searching for the Fountain of Youth. The second story, set in the present day, is about a scientist finding a cure for his wife’s cancer. The third story, set in the 26th century, is about an astronaut discovering the meaning of life, love, and death.
This thought-provoking psychological thriller is pretty wild and ambitious with its biblical representations. A young woman (Mother Earth) seems to have the picture perfect life with her husband (God) in their Victorian mansion in the countryside (Garden of Eden). Things take an unexpected turn when a strange man (Adam) and his wife (Eve) and two kids (Cain and Abel) arrive and become guests in their home. Strange things start happening in the home as observed by the young woman. Chaos strikes, but the woman’s husband seems to be strangely friendly and accommodating to the guests except her.
Another psychological dramatic thriller, Pi is about Max Cohen, a numbers genius, who suffers from extreme paranoia and headaches. Obsessed with numbers, he stays cooped up in his Chinatown apartment solving equations on his ultra-advanced computer. One day, he discovers a mysterious number, the constant pi, that puts his life in danger. He finds himself the target of Wall Street agents who want to use his discovery for all the wrong reasons. Frighteningly smart and eerily compelling, this film depicts just how much a man is willing to sacrifice his mind to pursue a dangerous obsession.
Black Swan (2010)
The world of ballet is all beauty and grace, but this film shows just how dangerously competitive it can get. Nina, a ballerina, lives and breathes ballet. In fact, her main goal in life is to be the prima ballerina for the opening production of Swan Lake. When she gets chosen to be the star of the show, her rivalry against newcomer Lily gets intense. As competition becomes tighter and pressure starts to creep in, Nina’s dark side emerges.
The Wrestler (2008)
This heart-wrenching Aronofsky film takes a different turn with a focus on the world of sports – wrestling to be exact. When pro-wrestling sensation Randy “The Ram” Robinson gets past his prime years and gets brutally defeated in a fight, he decides to retire. With more time to focus on his personal life, he pursues a relationship with a stripper and reconnect with his estranged daughter. With his deep longing for the sport and the love of his fans, Randy plans his comeback in spite of having to sacrifice everything he has. The real question is, is it worth it?
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
This one, I would say, is a personal favorite. It depicts the intertwining stories of four people who are all desperate for connection, acceptance, love, and happiness. When the realities of life hit them, they discover that life isn’t so great. Because of this, they each take a dangerous turn in numbing themselves with drugs. Trapped in a world of delusion and desperation, each character’s dream gets dramatically taken away from them. This film is disturbing, depressing, hard to forget, and definitely one of the best Darren Aronofsky movies ever.