Either way, audiences clearly felt betrayed -- even insulted -- by some combination of the subject matter, the depiction of violence, or the claustrophobic visual approach. There were gasps, sighs, and multiple walkouts at the screening I attended in the traditionally forgiving neighborhood of Brooklyn. It's that type of a movie, a grisly and wonky work of art that either exhilarates or disgusts you depending on your aesthetic temperament. (Here's a useful test: If you liked the rock-monsters in Aronofsky's previous Biblical epic Noah, then you'll dig this, too; if you couldn't make it past the opening 10 minutes of Lars von Trier's Antichrist, stay far away.)
Paramount, the studio that ponied up the $30 million needed to fund the movie, has offered a full-throated defense of it in the press. "This movie is very audacious and brave," said the company's president of marketing and distribution Megan Colligan in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter. "You are talking about a director at the top of his game, and an actress at the top her game. They made a movie that was intended to be bold. Everyone wants original filmmaking, and everyone celebrates Netflix when they tell a story no one else wants to tell. This is our version. We don't want all movies to be safe. And it's okay if some people don't like it."