Let me start off by saying that there is no bad Aronofsky movie. Every movie he’s made can only be described as an experience. So without further ado, here’s Darren Aronofsky’s movies in order from worst to best (in my opinion…which is the correct opinion).
6. Pi (1998)
I’ll start this list off with his first film. I know a lot of you are already pissed on the order of this list. ‘Pi’ follows a mathematician and genius Maximillian Cohen (played awesomely by Sean Gullette) as he searches for order in the stock market using his homemade super computer, and ends up searching for the true name of God…because of course that’s what happens. The high contrast black and white (while being necessary due to the low budget of the project) fits perfectly for the movie. The highlight to me is the soundtrack and sound design. From the slow ticking that fills the quiet moments with tension, to the chaotic music that coincided with his breakthroughs. While it’s not a perfect movie, you can see the start of a truly gifted filmmaker.
Oh yea, and he also sticks a pen into a brain that’s sitting on a subway platform.
5. Noah (2014)
We all know the story of Noah: build an ark, get two of every animal, flood, dove with an olive branch…but this version has rock monsters!!!!! Ok, maybe they’re not rock monsters but fallen angels that are supposed to look over mankind…or something like that. Either way they were badass. The fact that Aronofsky made this movie surprised me because we’re all used to seeing him tell smaller, more intimate stories.
4. The Wrestler (2008)
This movie is really all about Mickey Rourke, or more importantly the performance Aronofksy was able to get out of Mickey Rourke as the aging wrestler. Aronofsky had to fight the studio let him cast Rourke in the lead and it was absolutely worth it. He single handedly brought Rourke’s career back from the dead. And let’s not forget about Marisa Tomei as her performance as his stripper friend is incredible. Also, holy cow how hot is she in this!
3. Black Swan (2010)
This is probably as close to a horror movie that Aronofsky will make, and parts of it are terrifying. Natalie Portman plays a ballerina who gets the lead in Swan Lake. The stress of the being in the lead and the competition from fellow dancer Mila Kunis drives her insane. Like most of his movies this one starts slow and builds to an amazing climax.
2. The Fountain (2006)
The Fountain stars Hugh Jackman as a man desperately trying to find the fountain of youth. It takes place in three different time periods and is overall really confusing, but not in a bad way. I saw The Fountain in theaters and when the movie was over and everyone was making their way out I overheard a lot of hate for the movie. I couldn’t believe it, I thought I had just watched one of the best films I’d ever seen. No I didn’t really understand it at first (I’m still not sure if I truly understand it) but I knew it was something special. It’s a movie that makes you think and sticks with you long after it’s over. It also has some of the most beautiful shots ever put on film.
1. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Quick story: When I was a freshman in high school a buddy and myself were in Blockbuster Video (ha, remember those) and came upon this movie with an eyeball on the cover. Without even reading the synopsis we rented it based on that alone. I watched the movie that night and it changed my life. No I wasn’t like, “man, drugs are bad, I don’t want my arm cut off”, but instead it changed the way I looked at movies. I saw a film like I’d never seen before. An unrelenting story told in an unrelenting way. The use of music and montage building to a 3rd act that will leave you gasping for air. I remember when it ended I sat on the couch while the credits rolled knowing I’d never look at movies the same way again. Up to that point movies to me were just movies, something to watch for a while and that’s it. After I watched ‘Requiem for a Dream’ I knew that movies weren’t just to be watched, but to be experienced. They could change the way you felt. They could make you look at the world, and at people, in the different way. Think of Ellen Burstyn’s character on the subway, strung out on drugs in her tattered red dress causing a scene, “They told me I’d be on television!”
We’ve all seen that person in the world, on the bus or the side of the road, and it’s easy to write them off as just another crazy person. But we’ve watched Ellen Burstyn’s character transform from a beautiful and lonely mother into the crazy person on the subway, all because she just wanted to be loved. Now when I see that person in the world I can’t just write them off as just insane or a nuisance. Everyone comes from somewhere and there’s a reason for everything. That’s true art, when a film can change you way you see the world.