FROM addicts going through drug hell to a ballet dancer losing her mind, Darren Aronofsky’s movies are more endurance than entertainment.

The filmmaker’s body of work has always been extreme, intense and often claustrophobic while the themes of his stories sometimes feel like navigating a mental labyrinth.

Why put yourself through that as a viewer? Because Aronofsky’s work is brave, uncompromising and thought-provoking as well as being technically brilliant.

But mother! is perhaps the director’s most challenging and uncomfortable story yet.

The film is about a couple, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, who live in a secluded grand mansion that is slowly being refurbished after a devastating fire.

Bardem’s character is an author who is desperate to create his magnum opus but suffers from writer’s block while his supportive wife desires only to make the perfect family home.

But their tranquil existence is shattered when uninvited guests arrive at the mansion.

mother! is a challenging watch because nothing is as it seems. To say more would spoil the experience but prepare to be perplexed, shocked and perhaps even troubled by the end.

With all the action set in the walls of the house, it will leave you transfixed and – for all the inevitable confusion – it is incredibly well paced.

If you generally prefer a more cohesive viewing experience than one subject to interpretation and metaphor then it is probably best to avoid this one.

But one thing is for sure – mother! is the sort of feature that is dream material for film schools and will no doubt be studied and talked about in years to come.

For me, the marker of a good film is one that has a deep effect on you and when you find yourself unsettled, Googling theories on the story and thinking about it long after the credits roll you can certainly place Aronofsky’s latest in that category.

RATING: 8.5/10