Note: Since this is the first film review I've ever written I'll try to keep it concise and ignore my inherent inclination toward rambling, but no promises.
I had high, probably unrealistically high, expectations for Black Swan and yet am happy to announce that not only was I completely floored by the film, but as of right now it's my favorite of 2010. For those of you not keen to Darren Aronofsky's filmography, the man likes flawed characters often plagued by obsession, usually to the detriment of the film's protagonist and those around him or her. You can see this theme repeated throughout his entire career - Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler, Black Swan - there's always some level of fixation touched upon. Of course simply stating that Aronofsky has an obsession with obsession is painting a picture with some fairly broad strokes. His films also deal with identity, nostalgia, and desperation to name a few of his other favorite motifs. While Black Swan was obviously developed in Aronofsky's wheelhouse, it's clear that as an artist he's continuing to mature and try new things. In addition to being a brilliant character study, the film also happens to be a fantastic art house horror flick that not only challenges your mind, but also your nerves.
|Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers|
The film starts off with a bang as we peek inside the mind of Nina and become intimately, often uncomfortably, familiar with her aspirations to be the perfect dancer. To say this film is frighteningly beautiful is an understatement. Nina moves with graceful refinement from frame to frame, but it quickly becomes clear, due to not only the outward pressures in her life, namely a mother who is both bitter and devoted to her daughter and a ballet director that gleefully manipulates his dancers' emotions, but also her internal struggle as she attempts to tap into the darker side of her psyche, that she is in fact quite unhinged.
|Von Rothbart the evil sorcerer|
|Vincent Cassel as Thomas Leroy works with Nina Sayers|
The only real complaint I have about the film was a scene which takes place in a hospital near the end of the film. It was frightening, it was gory (both things I love), but some of the visual effects looked fake and had me a bit worried about the ending. Ultimately, this was a very shallow complaint and didn't affect my admiration and infatuation for the film in any way, but still surprised me given the amount of work that clearly went into the picture. Who knows, maybe when I see this on Blu-ray (and I WILL be buying this on Blu-ray) I'll find that I was completely mistaken.
Ultimately, Black Swan is a masterpiece, which I think many will remember whenever thinking back to 2010, a year that hasn't given us very many great films. The film is sure to divide audiences (something more films should strive to do), but will definitely pack a punch no matter how you feel about the movie. It is still in limited release but is sure to be coming to a theater near you soon. When it does, run, don't walk to the nearest screening. It'll be well worth your time.
Rating: 5/5 stars