Black Swan (2010) – Review

Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), a ballet dancer, is the lead in “Swan Lake” who though is perfect as the delicate White Swan is unable to connect inwardly to a darker part of herself. If she is unable to do so, perfection will not be met and the possibility of being replaced by the younger, Lily (Mila Kunis), appears quite likely.

It is such, then, that she carries herself down, headlong, the path of darkness in an attempt to capture of the essence the Black Swan and become the perfect Swan Queen.







Black Swan‘s themes of insanity and perfection are evident as it is a piece and examination of both, however, while it believes itself to have succeeded marvelously in both fields, it aggressively presents the two themes in such a way that it resembles that of a procrastinated assignment rather than a developed analyst of an artist.

Nina’s descent into madness is indeed the fastest by any one singular character, literary or not; it is too sudden to be all to believable.  That said, Natalie Portman delivers a substantial, unsettling, performance. In a way Portman herself is much like the White Swan as she is a timid, gentle creature. Here it is however, that we are watching her as an actress, cast in a role unfamiliar to her—that of the evil villain, the Black Swan.

Darren Aronofsky’s fronts the notion of getting in-touch with one’s dark side through drug usage, lust, and desire for perfection. More so however, the focus is on that of the two formers. Black Swan does, at times, seem to creatively display Nina’s insanity through an admirable effort of mirror to real world parallels, but more often than not the presentation appears more in the flavor of a campy horror film.

Matthew Libatique’s cinematography is once again respectable as his efforts here are indeed his most commendable and it is by way of his lens that my favorite scene in the film unfolds. It occurs near the end of the film, while Nina is performing as the Black Swan. She spins and twirls herself into the role and through each rotation the development of two black wings are noticeable in place of either arm. It is simple, lovely.

Aronofsky’s Black Swan is a film that could have aimed high and perhaps landed amongst the stars, but instead his tasteless direction substitutes sex for substance and aims to be that of a prepubescent schoolboy’s wet dream. It does though carry a notable air in which it blends predictability and suspense.

Is it ironic that a film on perfection is so far away from it?



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