Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Movie Review: Black Swan


Superb. Clichéd. Brilliant. Hokey. People seem to either fall in love with or laugh their balls off when it comes to Black Swan. I'm in the first camp. Darren Aronofsky's latest film just might be his finest as far as I'm concerned, and from the director of Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler, that's saying something.

Matilda, on meth.
The film centers around Natalie Portman's character Nina, a 20-something ballerina with issues. She's repressed, uptight, obsessed with honing her craft and condemned to live with an overbearing mother (a failed ballerina herself) who still tucks her in at night and dresses her like a child. Miraculously, the dreary clouds of Nina's life seem to part as she gets the chance to audition for the lead in her company's new rendition of Swan Lake. Of course the greatest roadblock shes faces in landing the part is herself.

I'm usually hesitant when saying this, but everything about Black Swan is damn near flawless. Portman's tragic portrayal of Nina is easily her greatest performance to date, and Mila Kunis shines as Lily, the anti-Nina whose raw exuberance serves as one of the great catalyst for the films twisted plot. Aronofsky's use of hand held cameras provides the audience with a chilling, fly on the wall perspective yet simultaneously enhances the mania that ensues as Nina struggles with internal/external forces to become the Swan Queen. Oh yeah, and the dance sequences are amazing. The swooping camera work during these shots made me feel like I was on an insane roller coaster ride, while the booming score (the film's music mixed with elements of Tchaikovsky's original Swan Lake) creates the most heart palpitating soundtrack I've heard all year.

Some people might respond differently however. There were individuals who scoffed at the absurdity transpiring on screen. Perhaps they found Aronofsky's use of CGI gratuitous? I didn't. Maybe they expected a straight up ballerina catfight drama and got what cinealogue.com called, "...Showgirls meets Fight Club on crazy pills." As for me, well given Aronofsky's history of mind-fuckery (Pi, The Fountain, Requiem) I just threw my hands up and tossed any preconceptions to the wind and let Black Swan warp my brain and thoroughly kick my ass. Yes, that's right, a movie about a couple of 5'3 ballerinas kicked my ass. I laughed, I cringed (quite often) but mostly, I sat with my mouth aghast, marveling at the awesome slab of cinema unfolding before me. Film of the year? I think so.

32 comments:

  1. Seeing as how its Aronofsky, I must see this. Natalie Portman is also another reason. Most of the reason. The reason.

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  2. dat gap. lol i have no clue who aronofsky is.

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  3. Natalie Portman is a vomit reincarnate. I just could not take this movie seriously.

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  4. requiem of a dream by aronofsky is one of my all time favourites, so i'll be sure to check this one out.

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  5. I saw the carpet munching scene already. Will skip the rest.

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  6. My girlfriend and I cannot wait to see this. We're out of town now visiting family and none of the local theaters are playing it. I'm kind of upset I'll have to wait, but it's another great reminder of one of the many reasons I love living in a big city now.

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  7. not playing in my hometown yet...

    this will be a classic in some years

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  8. I saw it was about a ballerina,and I was like, meh, but all the reviews have been positive, so I'll have to check it out.

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  9. hokey is a word that doesn't get thrown around too much.

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  10. glad you liked it... i was hoping to finally see natalie portman in a movie that wasn't horrible

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  11. When I first saw Natalie Portman on that poster I had second thoughts on viewing this movie but after I saw this post I saw the movie and I think it's superb and it deserves an Oscar!

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  12. I absolutely love Portman and the Aronofsky movies I've seen I have absolutely loved as well. Thanks for the recommendation! I'm going to have to see this ASAP

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  13. my gf saw this she said it was awesome

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  14. sounds interesting. never heard of that movie

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  15. a lol get movie and what a fun coincidence

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  16. gotta check it out, seems too interesting :D

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  17. Great Review. I can't wait to go see it. Like you said I've seen excellent and on the other hand bad reviews of this movie, maybe because it's beautiful and absurd at the same time!

    Thanks for following,

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  18. i wanna watch it for the fabled mila kunis sex scene. am i thinking of the right movie?

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  19. I think ill be checking this out, i love Natalie Portman.

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  20. seen it and loved it, I agree great movie

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  21. Natalie lost major cool points after she refused to play a hooker type character in V, forcing them to change the story. At least, that is what I heard.

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  22. I hadn't even heard of this title and I don't think a movie about a ballerina would have perked my interest had I not read your review. Thanks for the info, I think I might look into this.

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  23. My friend said he saw it the other day. He said it was really good. I haven't seen this movie yet, but I am a big fan of Darren Aronofsky.

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  24. Looks pretty good actually, i'm going to go see it.

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  25. Its portrayal of the relationships excellent, its moments of tenderness and want, concern and horror, worthy of almost any director. Over the years, we will see this film grow in stature.Nice place to watch Black Swan Online, Its record twelve Broadcast Film Critics Association nominations are no mistake.…

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  26. Oh, man. I completely agree with your review 100%! This movie was amazing and I also watched the majority of it with my mouth open.

    Great movie! I want to watch it again! =)

    Also, I'll be back to the lulz from now on! Ha ha! =P

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