Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review: Black Swan

Grade: A+

Nina is a hard working and very dedicated dancer in a New York City ballet company. She lives with her over-protective mother who used to be a dancer herself and tries to control every aspect of Nina’s life. When the company’s director decides to replace a veteran prima ballerina, Beth, with a younger, fresher face for their new season’s opening production of Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. Then, the arrival of a new dancer, Lily, begins to throw Nina off her track. She becomes even more obsessed with her role and increasingly paranoid that Lily is out to take the role from her. As Nina becomes more obsessed with perfection, she begins to mirror her character in Swan Lake, as she begins to change from the sweet, innocent girl that she once was into a much more deceitful and sensual person.

Wow, that was my first reaction after seeing this movie. I was looking forward to seeing Black Swan and I had a feeling it was going to be good, I did not expect it to be this good. Director Darren Aronofsky did a fantastic job creating probably the most intense movie of the year. The whole atmosphere of the movie is rich with paranoia and obsession. The main theme of Black Swan is obsession, from Nina’s obsession with the role, her performance and perfection to her mother’s obsession with having Nina fulfill the dreams she never did and more. This movie really shows how obsession can control your life and destroy your mind. This is one of the best psychological thrillers I have seen in a long time, as well as being one of the most terrifying and disturbing movies I’ve seen in a while. I can’t remember the last time I watched a movie and literally had chills running down my spine. Not to mention that the dancing and music in the movie is awe inspiring at times. This movie really shows a side of ballet not usually seen in movies. Also, when you really get down to it, Black Swan is a new and very modern take on Swan Lake, and I loved it.

Natalie Portman (The Other Boleyn Girl, V for Vendetta) plays the central role of Nina. Portman was absolutely amazing in this movie, easily her best performance to date. She managed to perfectly pull off the Nina’s innocence in the first part of the movie as well as her obsession and paranoia that transforms her into the person she is at the end of the movie. I cannot get over this performance and it has to be a lock for an Oscar nomination. Mila Kunis (Date Night, The Book of Eli) plays Lily, a new dancer in the company. Kunis continues to surprise me more and more. She got her start on That 70s show and I never really thought she would become a quality actress but she has definitely proved me wrong. Her performance in Black Swan is amazing and is sure to get some recognition. Her character is the exact opposite of Nina, and Kunis did it so well. Vincent Cassel (Ocean’s 12, Eastern Promises) plays the role of Thomas Leroy, the director. Cassel did a great job in this movie and his performance was fantastic as part of the driving force behind Nina’s obsession. Barbara Hershey (Falling Down, The Last Temptation of Christ) plays Erica, Nina’s mother. She did an amazing job playing the super over protective mother and was very disturbing at times. Winona Ryder (The Informers, A Scanner Darkly) plays Beth, a veteran prima ballerina. While Ryder isn’t in the movie that much, her performance leaves an impression. All around, this movie had some of the best performances of the year.

Black Swan is an amazing movie that is extremely well made, well written and perfectly acted. It is a dark and disturbing movie that will leave you shaken and wanting more. I feel that this movie is an absolute must see movie of 2010. As a warning to anyone possibly thinking of taking their small child to this movie (there were several where I saw it), Black Swan is rated R and for a reason. It is highly sensual and sexualized and contains some violence and disturbing imagery.

Great quote: “That was me seducing you, when it should be the other way around.”

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