Thursday, September 02, 2010

Notes on "Black Swan"

Black Swan
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder
Grade: B+

In 1948 Moira Shearer's red shoes led her down a path to destruction, shaming the ambitions of its dancing devotee. Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" is a fairy-tale all about self-reflection, reverent of ballet's expressionistic qualities and ambiguities, and the dark promise of a dancer's modus operandi.

"Black Swan" is extraordinary in its frenetic, close-capture sense of spectacle, maintaining an ornateness through all of its gruesome attempts to rattle and drastic character escalation. Natalie Portman as Nina suffers for her art, visibly strained from the duality of the character, and evolves from meek to precocious to jealous to erratic, effectively shading Nina's arc with glimpses of unpredictable self-loathing and scrupulous behaviour.

Aronofsky is often as impulsive as his heroine, exercising some really blatant creative license, with an admittedly coursed fable, but his film gains such boundless energy as it moves and transforms in our minds, that I hardly cared. "Black Swan" is tremendous, and not to be missed.

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