Movie Review: Mother!: New at Reason

Mother! Is a horror movie with a shadow agenda—which is a problem, I think. The picture's most effective horror elements are unusually potent; they stir a sense of intimate violation that's uncomfortable to process. And toward the end, writer-director Darren Aronofsky, redlining the WTF meter, whips up a couple of scenes that may strike some viewers as going way too far in a direction they'd rather not follow.

However, it's hard to get too exercised about the movie's escalating terrors, since they're not happening to believable characters. The people we see here are participants in an allegory, bloodless puppets whose every action scores points in a larger, encompassing narrative. They have no backstories or human textures, and since their fates are shaped by Aronofsky's laborious authorial design, it's hard to care about them, or about the story in which they've been positioned. This leaves us with little more to contemplate than the movie's thick Biblical underbrush, its familiar environmental messaging, and its escalating surges of noise and nastiness. Also the elements it has appropriated from Rosemary's Baby, Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel, and the well-known world of David Lynch (clanking, raspy sound design, pulsing fetal visions), writes Kurt Loder in his latest review for Reason.

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