Directed By: Darren Aaronfsky
Written By: Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John J. McLaughlin
Based On A Story By: Andres Heinz
Cinematography By: Matthew Libatique
Editor: Andrew Weisblum
CAST: Natalie Portman, Barbara Hershey, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassell, Winona Ryder
Nina is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily, who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side – a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.
The film while quite good was not as amazing as I had hoped and heard it was. The reason I believe I enjoyed the film as much as I did was Natalie Portman’s performance always an exceptional actress she lights up the screen everytime she is on it in most of the films she is in. Here if not for her the film would still be good but not as impactful as it is with her in it. Originally the film was supposed to take place in the New York theater world but the director decided it would be more interesting for it to focus on ballet.
The film is like a emotional horror film more then a drama I cringed through half of the film feeling a sense of dread. As to the action and emotions on screen. There are a bunch of scenes that are hard to watch as things split, ripped, torn and cut. Show me guts in a horror film I barely turn away. You show me a cracked in half toenail I’m ready to faint real life violence or violence that looks way too real sickens me fake movie violence I barely budge.
The main theme of this film is obsession and achieving perfection and maintaining once you do. Natalie Potman Plays a ballerina who is chosen to be a new star of swan lake as the aging star is put out to pasture. The director of th show puts pressure on her believing she is perfect for the white swan part of the dance the virginal part but for the balck swan dance he feels she doesn’t have enough experience to lose herself and be seductive. Plus she fears that her understudy is trying to take the role from her. Soon she becomes fascinated by the understudy. She also has to deal with a overbearing stage mom who micromanages her life and treats her like a little girl.
The film deals a lot more with the psyche of the character and what maybe paranoia she seems to be gaining as the film moves along. There are some breathtaking sequences. But at times to me the film is a bit much like the constant score that is playing which are fine in scenes that need a lyrical beauty and dance scenes but not needed as much in the scenes of deep emotion. I think it would be better for the actors or at least their behavior speak for them in those scenes instead of the music trying too.
Much has been said of Mila Kunis’s performance she was good nothing extraordinary. She is quite sexy. But I feel sometimes audiences and quite a few critics go overboard with praise when a particularly beautiful actress finally gives a good performance. then all of a sudden credit them with range. It’s not that they have range they just finally are doing what they are paid to do give good performances. Before they might have been coasting on just beauty instead of talent.
The whole cast is great and on their A Game I loved to see Winona Ryder in the film I only wish she was in more of the film. It seems more like a glorified cameo role in the film though she is a central character to the story. Barbara Hershey shows she need to work more as she is scary and utterly believable in her role, But at the same time understand her as she worries about her daughter. The film is not as cold as you would expect it to be. It tries to lean in that direction but you continually fins yourself enraptured wit the characters.
I have to give director Darren Aaronfsky credit he is growing as a director using his talents more to tell and explain a story. Instead of distracting visuals that take away from his first three films REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, PI, and THE FOUNTAIN. This film is more on par with THE WRESTLER. Which I believe is a better film then this but this film belongs in it’s league.
A Must SEE