The Review: Black Swan

Okay so its been out for a little while now. I actually watched this in December – but like most of the films I have posted about prior, I was far to lazy/sloppy busy to do anything about it. Now the BAFTAs and that other Award ceremony are drawing near I felt like adding more penny’ s to the jar.

Black Swan is essentially the film to beat – for The Kings Speech at this years Oscar. And it won’t. I would love it if it did  I didn’t think the latter was particularly spectacular like all the ‘critics’ are hollering about. It’s a good movie. I draw the line at that. Darren Aronofsky or ex-‘MrRachelWeisz’ (i was just sick in my mouth) beautiful if not a little twisted feature has been causing a stir, deservedly because the good and bad press has shot this film in to second place to take the top award prizes.

SYNOPSIS:The story revolves around a production of Swan Lake of which the central character Nina (Portman) is presented with the opportunity to take on the coveted lead of the lead, the gracious angelic White Swan and the dangerous seductive Black Swan. The conflict is, that Nina is a brilliant, if a little uptight fit for the White Swan, however it’s a role that requires the dancer to grasp the dark side (Black Swan) with as much tenacity, something that her ambiguous understudy Lily (Kunis) matches perfectly. What starts of as a fragile courtship between the two ambitious ladies seemingly develops in to a destructive affair, albeit brief which is blighted furthermore by Nina’s paranoid intuitions that  Lily (also her understudy) is attempting to sabotage her chance to be the Swan queen.

The story takes a slow ride behind the scenes, and ahead of Nina’s opening performance and  introduction in to prestigious ballet society. Time is irrelevant, this is more of an observation in to the  two extremes of human consciousness. The light and the dark. How far and beyond the call of duty and sanity will Nina go to pull off the best performance of her life?

I read that Aronofsky conceived the premise after watching various productions of the Swan Lake and drawing (unbelievingly untapped) parallels between the context of the story (essentially swan lake is the basis for the film ‘single white female’) and the real notions of an understudy, a clone, ever-present waiting in the wings to attain his/her chance to take her predecessors place.

It’s a beautifully shot movie. Its packed with scenes that attempt to tell a story where paranoia, ruthlessness and determination exist in the beautiful and seemingly fragile world of the ballet dancer. It does so well. Those girls are competitive bitches. Sources reveal that Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis had Ballet training in preparation for the film, its definitley present in Portman’s scenes and it looks painful. This film is anything but eloquent like their performances on stage. Like the beautiful and tragic film The Red Shoes, Black Swan is both well conceived and performed but the story conclusion is unjust and left me feeling a little depressed.

Vincent Cassel also lends his ever sexy and French cool acting chops and professional dancing background to the film, and a choppy appearance by the current comeback queen Winona Ryder is a nice addition to a cast of understated, brilliant actors.

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