Darren Aronofsky and Brendan Fraser – The Whale – Review by Efe Teksoy

“THE WHALE” A FASCINATING DRAMA BY DARREN ARONOFSKY

Cinema Writer/Film Critic Efe TEKSOY; wrote the drama film “THE WHALE”, for America’s Los Angeles-based Internet Newspaper @alaturkanews.

A MASSIVE PERFORMANCE IN A SINGLE PLACE

The film, which made its world premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival and received a six-minute standing ovation for its lead actor, Brendan Fraser, was nominated for three Oscars at the 95th Academy Awards. The film, which received 4 BAFTA nominations at the 76th British Academy Film Awards and nominations for the Best Actor Award at the 80th Golden Globe Awards, is considered one of the favorite films of the award season. The Whale, directed by Oscar and BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Darren Aronofsky; It is adapted from the American playwright Samuel D. Hunter‘s play of the same name, which won the 2013 Drama Desk Award and the 2013 Lucille Lortel Outstanding Play Award. The film is about a morbidly obese, reclusive English teacher who teaches online writing classes as she tries to reconnect with her teenage daughter. Stars; Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Ty Simpkins, Hong Chau, Samantha Morton, Sathya Sridharan, Jacey Sink and Wilhelm Schalaudek.

ARONOFSKY CINEMA AND ANATOMY OF UGLINESS

Darren Aronofsky’s cinema adopts a narrative ornamented with religious motifs and mythological allegories. Again in this movie, we encounter similar images. A missionary named Thomas is seen trying to show the spiritual light to the character of Charlie, and on the other hand, Charlie, Hz. He paints an image of Christ the redeemer, symbolizing the suffering and suffering of Jesus. Italian scientist and philosopher Umberto Eco, one of the great masters of medieval aesthetics and semiotics, he is considered one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century. Eco’s On Ugliness is an important philosophical study of the history of evil and ugliness. (Eco here), in one chapter of the Book of Isaiah (53: 2-7); He states that because of Christ’s suffering, he was shown “deprived of form and beauty.” The character of Charlie in the movie also seems to symbolize this. Also, Ancient Greek culture did not say that the world should be absolutely beautiful. Greek mythology also tells about the evils and wrongs of the world. The ancient Greek philosopher Plato argues that the reality we perceive with our senses is actually an inadequate imitation of the perfection of the world of ideas. When we look at the scholastic philosophy, we see that the concept of ugliness is valid within the framework of the holistic beauty of the universe, and we see that it presents various examples. Also regarded as one of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time, the Latin philosopher St. Augustine, in his work On Order; states that ugliness contributes to order.

THE MORPHOLOGY OF BEAUTY

In fact, we see that Charlie’s main struggle is more with life and human relations, rather than his weight. In addition to his external flaws, Charlie (who tries to correct his past mistakes) has a character that contains goodness and beauty. This explains to us that the concept of beauty in Aronofsky’s cinema sits in a different place from the stereotypical views. Famous thinker and scientist Umberto Eco embarks on a great historical and philosophical expedition on beauty in his book, The History of Beauty. Eco said, “During the Renaissance, the so-called ‘Great Theory’, which maintained that beauty depended on the ratio of the parts from which it was composed, attained a high level of perfection.” He says that in the Renaissance Period, new forms of expression emerged to express beauty. It is seen that the forms of perfection and perfection in beauty have been within the framework of a different taste since this period. However, Aronofsky; In the film, moves away from today’s taste and offers us a different interpretation.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Because of his character’s severe weight, Brendan Fraser had to don a heavy prosthetic suit for the role that he wore for hours. He told members of the media in attendance at the Venice International Film Festival (via Variety), “I developed muscles I did not know I had. I even felt a sense of vertigo at the end of the day when all the appliances were removed; it was like stepping off the dock onto a boat in Venice. That [sense of] was undulating. It gave me an appreciation for those whose bodies are similar. You need to be an incredibly strong person, mentally and physically, to inhabit that physical being.”

Young Ellie in the flashback scenes is played by Sadie Sink’s little sister, Jacey.

Darren Aronofsky’s first digitally shot film.

Shot in a 1.33 aspect ratio, giving us a confined, boxy atmosphere that mirrors the confines of Charlie’s apartment.

With the exception of the opening scene where Thomas gets off the bus and the flashback scene on the beach, the entire movie takes place at Charlie’s apartment.

For the role, Fraser spent four hours each day being fitted with prosthetics that weighed up to 300 lb (136 kg). He also consulted with the Obesity Action Coalition and worked with a dance instructor for months before filming began in order to determine how his character would move with the excess weight.

Multiples of 12 are a recurring theme in the film. Charlie says he has $120,000 saved up (12 times 10,000). The amount of money Thomas stole is $2,436 (12 times 203). Finally, when Charlie summarizes the beliefs of the New Life church, he says that 144,000 people are supposed to be saved when the rapture comes. This number is 12 times 12,000 and is mentioned in the Book of Revelation as the number of people obtained by gathering 12,000 people from each of the 12 tribes of the sons of Israel. (Darren Aronofsky’s first film, Pi, also involved connections between mathematics and religious beliefs.)

THE WHALE

Directed by Darren Aronofsky, his first feature film five years after (since 2017’s Mother!), The Whale is one of the favorite productions of the awards season with its original dramatic structure and strong cinematography.

EFE TEKSOY

 

REFERENCES

Umberto Eco, Çirkinliğin Tarihi (On Ugliness), translate; Anaca Uysal Ergün, Özgü Çelik, Arıcan Uysal, Elif Nihan Akbaş, Melike Barsbey, Kültigin Kaan Akbulut, Duygu Arslan, Berna Yılmazcan, İstanbul: Doğan Egmont Yayıncılık press, 2015

Umberto Eco, Güzelliğin Tarihi (The History of Beauty), translate; Ali Cevat Akkoyunlu, Sait Maden, Seynan Levent, Kadriye Göksel, Gülseren Devrim, Tankut Gökçe, Halil Beytaş, Ülkem Özge Sevgilier, İstanbul: Doğan Egmont Yayıncılık press, 2012

 

 

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