Dunavin on Film: The Most Overrated Directors of the 2000s, Part I

Critics and armchair movie viewers alike fawned over three directors in the 2000s whose films showed very little understanding of how people actually work, interact and live – and tons of flashy plot-twisty nonsense and inappropriate overstylization. Their films emphasize did-I-just-blow-your-mind narminess over any actual cinematic grace. You probably like them. You are wrong. Firstly:

Darren Aronofsky

There was a good movie to be had somewhere in The Fountain: a potentially winning romance that would be something like The Notebook meeting David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. But the shocking lack of soul Darren Aronofsky has displayed in his other dour, murky, overly stylized messes suggest it was stumbled upon accidentally. Like Nolan, Aronofsky’s movies are, for the most part, designed to elicit cries of “That’s soooo deep” from frat boys and people who listen to a lot of prog rock. For those of us who aren’t impressed by such cinematic self-gratification, films like Requiem for a Dream come across as hideously pompous. (Aronofsky’s two worst works, the unbelievably pretentious, embarrassingly bad low-budget Pi and the unbelievably pretentious, embarrassingly bad high-budget Black Swan, came on either side of the decade.)

Darren Aronofsky is the worst director of the decade to not get roasted on a regular basis. He has a lot in common with the much-despised M. Night Shyamalan – a bloated sense of self-importance, a tendency to rely heavily on pretty visuals when the storytelling gets weak – but even Shyamalan is capable of decent pacing and doesn’t cynically splatter the screen with tacky, clumsy gratuitous audience-gratification scenes that belong in soft-core porn.



  1. Thank god someone out there shares my same sentiments. Darren Aronofsky is a very flawed artist. Yes, he’s an artist, he has some talent. But really, all things being equal, he is a poor director and even worse, a horrible storyteller. His work only resonates with people who don’t have a solid understanding of story and are easily swayed by terse style editing (Requiem), film school grade pretense (Pi) and limp character study (The Wrestler). Uneducated people react to these cheap devices/tangents and think they’re really watching something of substance, sophistication and competence. Black Swan would have been an excellent short film, but is sorely lacking in a feature format. Nothing about the main character’s objective is WORTH folllowing. Okay, so she really, really wants to get this big part in the ballet…… uh…. okay. People who truly have knowledge of story know this.

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