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Fell Incredibly Short of Expectations
I really like D. Aronofsky's films. As a whole, he has a solid corpus.
This film, however, had significant structural problems which shake its foundation as a film.
The film is split into two parts...Why? It's not clear. It's also not clear what the two plot-lines mean. There is not "real" connection to piece them together and the viewer is pushed to create their own...
This viewer sees a meaningless old testament - new testament relationship. But interplay? Not much. There seems to be a Cane and Able story in the first half. You know what happens... But how this is relevant to the main actors (the husband and wife) who take this couple and, subsequently, their two sons in. The husband and wife host the big family argument. Why? Dunno?
The second half, when J. Lawrence, has her child, we are thrust into a tired boy-Jesus plot line and his subsequent sacrifice a la New Testament plot themes. But why? And what do these two halves of the movie have to do with one another...apart from the first being an old testament story and the second being one from the new testament.
The ending is violent and contrived, yet is a very good dream sequence, albeit Lawrence is not dreaming (or is he?).
Two old Polanski homages, albeit super-heavy-handed, incessantly bombard you throughout the movie...The Apartment and Rosemary's Baby. But is it an homage or just meaningless lifting of motifs? The hole in the wall and the bloody hole (aka vagina) are direct parallels. As is the baby sacrifice or offering in both.
All in all it was watchable. Had some interesting points. Good camera work. Good effects. But the story doesn't hold up on any level, except in the mind of some viewers who need to stitch it together and make sense of it themselves in their own way...Perhaps that was the abstract goal.