However, for me, it's Aranofsky's worst film by far, and I've seen them all. As a technician and stylist, he's one of my favorite current directors, but the story and performances were hammered home with so many clichés that the venture was just laughable.
I mean, Darren's singular approach of blurring space and time worked well with "Requiem for a Dream" and "The Fountain" because of the inherent reality/unreality that is the central focus for the main character. Here, it's played out in the dichotomous relationship of TWO characters, and it's just plain silly - there is no granularity to it at all. The impresario and mother characters come off like crap - Anton Walbrook must have been turning in his grave. And of course, Mila Coon-Ass really kills it - a better actress with more allure, more subtlety, a better ability to convey passive-aggressiveness - now that might have helped a bit. Ultra-bad casting decision, but you have to give some credit to Natalie Portman, who turns in an agreeably flamboyant performance that, while probably not Oscar-worthy, is worth attending to.
But this thing is a turkey for me - it is ponderous and flat-footed rather than brooding and potent. This guy is a wonderfully talented director, but I hope Darren doesn't think that he's John Ford now after the Oscars of last year. Ford built his legacy through craft over time - so far, Darren has distinguished himself with techniques more akin to Roman Polanski. I'd love to see Aranofsky tackle something like "Othello" or "Macbeth"!
And frankly, I'd rather see Roman Polanski tackle THIS material - shades of "Repulsion"! Overall, I get more out of balletic conflicts like "The Red Shoes" and "The Turning Point" than this thing - I'd suggest that viewers at least see these as a source of comparison - heck, see "Repulsion" as well. I'm afraid that this isn't worth more than 3 out of 10.