Horror movies continue to be a popular trend in Hollywood. IT’s successful launch last weekend, surely inspires the trend to continue, so what the heck put out another one this weekend. Jennifer Lawrence takes center stage in what looks to be a psychosocial thriller to usher in a new age. Will the artistic styles of Darren Aronofsky be a welcome change to the milieu, or does its odd premise promised in the trailers might dive too far down crazy town to enjoy? Robbie K happy to fill in some gaps with another review. Let’s get started.
Unique vision: Call me crazy, as many people do, but originality is something difficult to come by these days. Mother, certainly gets points for standing out, not only in the bizarre presentation and mind messing visuals, but also in the symbolism represented in the story. Amidst the mystery, drama, and other oddities in the film, one will get their fill of morals in that artistic manor Hollywood loves. One certainly won’t forget this movie, or its…originality.
Acting: The chemistry between Javier Bardem and Lawrence is perhaps the biggest selling point of this movie. Much of the mystery comes in the tension between the two protagonists, Bardem’s deceptive nature and double speak is on point to keep you wondering what is going on. Lawrence’s curiosity and desperation kept me intrigued as to how far she could go, before breaking and challenging his words. It’s a relationship dynamic brought out in spades, further leading you down the rabbit hole into the mind meddling to be had. In addition, Lawrence also knows how to sell psychotic with screams, tears, and just enough raspy voice to sell suffering.
Prosthetics/makeup: Grasping for straws here, but the team did a nice job with the prosthetics at hand. Injuries that arise look festering as if plagued by infection illustrated in text books. The degrading house seen in the trailers is only further detailed in the shots, black marks and degrading wood in all its glory. And Lawrence’s pregnant belly is flawlessly blended into her normal skin, creating the roll that she could pop at any point.
Slow: Forgive me, but horror movies often move quickly to get to the scares at hand, even though they sacrifice story. While mother has a story…it moves dirt slow to the point of inducing sleep in the movie. The drama aspect takes more precedence than anything, and unfortunately it is dragged out relentlessly to the point of being annoying. This snail’s pace doesn’t do much for the quality of the movie, despite building up suspense for something never to come.
Not Scary: Aren’t horror films supposed to be scary, or at least try to get me to jump? Mother failed on this aspect much of the time, resorting to a few loud noises and people sudden turning a corner as their fright factor. The tactic grew old and soon became nothing more than a ploy to try to salvage scares. For me, the creepiest factor was seeing humans devolve into selfish, unthinking cretins makes me fear for the future. Outside of that though, not much got me on edge for this movie.
Editing: I stated above the pace was slow, but that’s because there was too much unneeded details for most of the movie. The drama was dragged out, the weird concepts were even longer, and there were a few scenes that I could have lived without and been just fine. Editing needed to jump in and get rid of some of this fluff, because it didn’t work for me at all given the lack of scares. Yet, their hands were tied by the fact the writer was also the director.
The Story: All the symbolism and artistic presentation doesn’t save the audience from an incoherent story. Mother has a lot of weird subplots in it, many of which held little relevance to the overall plot. Additionally, there are lots of gaps in the plot, unless you like theorizing and reflection on the plot, because that’s the only way to fill in the vague data points. The writer got so centered on its uniqueness, it didn’t close the story the best I think they could do. Questions are great for discussion, but I like my films with a little more explanation than what I got in this film. And when you draw most of the conclusions…you can’t help but say, “Really? That is what this is?” Which reminds me….
The Weirdness: Mother started out artistically weird, but as the movie hit the halfway point it dove deep into the tortured artist route. What didn’t make sense, quickly turned into a trippy, random display of negligence and rudeness, mocking the modern human while deterring from the mystery. Soon rapid time progression and sequence changes led to even more head scratching moments, that continued to shock me further to the point of asking what I was watching. The obscene violence and darker phenomenon only grossed me out, and again seemed pointless in the grand scheme of things.
Mother is artistic and unique, I’ll give it that, and certainly makes bold statements about a lot of cultural quarrels plaguing our world. But outside of that, it’s not so much a horror movie as a though provoking, psychological thriller. A slow pace, trippy visulas, and just overall weird atmosphere, does not make for the best horror movie. So, if you had your hopes up for this one, do yourself a favor and skip this mind bender until it hits home theaters. Go see IT again instead.
Movie Overall: 4.0