Thursday, January 20, 2011
Moofies - Black Swan (2010
EXPECTATIONS: Darren Aronofsky is a sucker for ultra high drama, so much so that his films get a little too much for me at times. I loved Pi and Requiem for a Dream had a fantastic soundtrack and an interesting use of split screen, but The Fountain was just badly cast (not that the actors were bad, they just didn't fit in that film at all I think) and The Wrestler was extremely well cast and put together, but some scenes just felt like too much. I dig what Aronofsky does, but I think with a little more restraint I would completely love his stuff. ANYWAY, Natalie Portman is a class act so this could be great.
REALITY: Aronofsky's over the top mega drama is still present in Black Swan but I think the content of the story matches his style well and I never felt like I was being urged to cry or anything.
Portman plays Nina Sayers, a dancer in a troupe run by Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel). Beth Macintyre (Winona Ryder, who seems to be in a lot lately which is awesome. I hope 2011 is the year of Winona. Reality Bites and Heathers were both awesome. Yes they were) was once the star of the company, but now she is past her prime according to Cassel, who is now looking for a new star for his next big production, Black Swan.
Portman's performance alone makes this worth seeing. She's begins as a very uptight character who, through the course of the film, becomes much more loose and animalistic; her story mirroring that of the character she is playing in the Black Swan performance. Portman pulls this off perfectly and I'm sure she'll need a new shelf for the huge number of awards that are headed her way for this film.
Portman doesn't carry the film by any means. She is surrounded by a solid cast, also including Mila 'Meg Griffin' Kunis and Barbara 'wind beneath my wings' Hershey.
I know pretty much nothing about ballet, but there is a lot of it here and it all looks real and amazing as far as I can tell. It's also great to see a film about ballet matched up with a psychological tale. I've never seen this combination before and the two genres (is ballet a genre?) work together very well.
I think Aronofsky's talents match these two genres perfectly. His use of editing and sweeping, quick camera shots match the musical beats of the film, and his more experimental film making elements are a perfect match for the psychological aspects of Nina's story.
Black Swan isn't some life changing experience, but it is an extremely well put together genre film with solid performances, especially from Natalie Portman.