Exeter, Devon UK • Jun 22, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Screen Fresh ideas: Aronofsky challenging the ‘three act structure’

Fresh ideas: Aronofsky challenging the ‘three act structure’

5 mins read
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Originality is coming scarily close to being lost in twenty-first century cinema. Nowadays, a somewhat rare trip to the cinema is often forgotten due to the churning out of franchises and live-action remakes. But is this culture the result of us not wanting to face change and innovative ideas? We’re so used to our usual three-act structure, when this is stripped from us, it is often suddenly given a ‘no good’ and ‘not worth seeing’ from many film-goers and critics. Why then do we complain that nothing is fresh anymore?

Darren Aronofsky, while promoting his new film mother! on the podcast ‘Kermode and Mayo’, stated that people get put off and a bit freaked out when a film doesn’t strictly follow the money-making rules, shouting: “woooh, wooh, where is my three-act structure? Where is the nice comfort zone I was promised when I paid £10 to sit in a dark room for two hours and not talk to anyone?!”. Aronofsky argues that “films have become very literal and yet they are the great pathways into dream state”, more needs to be obscure so that film-goers aren’t spoon-fed for originality to be found once more. Replicating the same films because they succeed at box office cannot be the potential of film; that’d be a very bleak film future.


mother! out in cinemas now.

Unfortunately, the films that often get praise from the critics are the ones who harness the ‘rules of cinema’, following the expected three-act structure. However, when this is thrown off, the audience are left with having to fill the gaps which, with a form where so much is given to you, can unfortunately be too much effort.

Aronofsky’s comment on cinema being a ‘great pathway to dream state’ is a great way to embrace the weirdness that films have the potential of portraying. Dreams often move from scene-to-scene with relative incoherence and certainly no three-act-structure; bringing this into film is a great way to get out of the unoriginal loop of Hollywood. Of course, there is the threat of a film not making any sense at all, which would become a problem here, but dismissing a film because it is slightly out of the ordinary is frivolous and lacklustre.

“Replicating the same films that succeed at box office cannot be the potential of film”


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