Thursday, 27 January 2011

Black Swan: Movie Review

Black Swan: Movie Review

Black Swan
Rating: 8/10
Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder
Director: Darren Aronofsky
It's the film which is generating Oscar buzz for Natalie Portman's portrayal of a ballet dancer.
Set in New York, this latest from The Wrestler director Darren Aronofsky follows a ballet company which is about to put on a new version of Swan Lake.
Portman plays Nina Sayers, a control freak of a dancer who's pushed herself as far as she can go for her role; with an obsessive desire to be part of the new production, she's gone right to the physical edge.
In charge of casting, company director Thomas Leroy (Cassel) decides to replace Winona Ryder's Beth MacIntyre with Sayers for the lead of the Swan Queen, believing Nina can push herself further than before.
As Sayers starts to work on loosening up and getting in touch with her darker side, she forms a friendship with fellow dancer Lily (Mila Kunis). But as the show draws ever closer and she tries to channel the deeper more disturbed Black Swan, Nina's world starts to fall apart amid jealousy and paranoia.
Black Swan is astounding, confounding, audacious, confusing and compelling viewing in equal parts.
It's a dizzying head trip of a film at times - and with an awards worthy performance from Natalie Portman as the dancer on the edge. The swings as the psycho drama plays out are incredible and the compelling performance delivers in spades. She captures the fragility and the delicateness of the physicality of the dancing role as well as the mental tone too.

For example, the girl who breaks down in the toilet after being selected telling her mother on the phone in an almost babyish voice "He picked me, mommy" is a stark contrast to the ballerina who takes to the stage at the end.
Black Swan is one of those films which you'll have to watch multiple times to pick up on everything - thanks to the masterful web woven by Aronofsky. Everyone's the star of this film; from a good turn by Winona Ryder as the princess of the company who's on the way out to the impressive performances of Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel. Each does more than enough to feed the paranoia of the ego as well as propel the drama along apace.
But it's the odd moments, the nightmarish windows into Sayer's fragile soul which catch you unawares and deliver the WTF emotional punches as the horror moments appear unexpectedly.
Outrageous, insane and yet incredibly mesmerizing and impressive, Black Swan is an enigma, a riddle wrapped up in a deeply disturbing and tightly woven multi-layered script.

It's also bound for great things.

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