I won’t be seeing Darren Aronofsky‘s mother! until Sunday morning (9.10), but I’m loving how it’s provoking intense reactions. From Daily Beast critic Marlow Stern: “This is a film designed to fuck with you. And fuck with you it does.”

The Playlist‘s Jessica Kiang: “An incendiary religious allegory, a haunted-house horror, a psychological head trip so extreme it should carry a health warning and an apologia for crimes of the creative ego past and not yet committed, it’s not just Aronofsky’s most bombastic, ludicrous and fabulous film, spiked with a kind of reckless, go-for-broke, leave-it-all-up-there-on-the-screen abandon, it is simply one of the most films ever.”

mother! director Darren Aronofsky, snapped a day or so ago at the Venice Film Festival.

There’s a paragraph in Todd McCarthy‘s THR review that strikes me as one of the most damning descriptions of of a reputable name-brand filmmaker that I’ve ever read by a reputable name-brand critic.

“Beyond the climactic free-for-all lunacy, this seems above all a portrait of an artist who has untethered himself from any and all moral responsibility,” McCarthy writes, “one so consumed by his own ego and sense of creative importance that he’s come to believe that nothing and no one remotely competes with the importance of his work.”

In other words, McCarthy is saying, Aronofsky is some kind of sociopath. This obviously argues with Aronofksy’s claim that mother! is meant to be some kind of climate-change allegory. If I were Aronofsky I would write a THR guest editorial and spell things out, especially about the necessary task of provocation that most major-league artists try to live up to.

Naturally, the McCarthy review makes me want to see mother! all the more.

Here’s what Aronofsky said in Venice a little while. “It really has to do with the [climate-change] allegory of the film and what we’re trying to do there. If you think about Day 6 in your history and in your bibles, you’ll kind of figure out where the film starts.” Apparently the film contains several Biblical references.

“Most of my films take many, many years to come to life. Black Swan was 10 years. Noah was 20 years. And this film happened in five days,” Aronofsky said. “It was the strangest thing. It came out of living on this planet and sort of seeing what’s happening around us and not being able to do anything. I just had a lot of rage and anger and I just wanted to channel it into one emotion, one feeling.”