Monday, November 21, 2011

Black Swan (2010) R - 4½ Stars

Natalie Portman gives an unforgetable performance as an unstable ballerina on the verge of discovering herself. She plays Nina, a fragile, up and coming ballerina, trying to win the lead in a production of Swan Lake. Programed by her mother, threatened by a rival, and sexually seduced by a man, she survives in a world of delusion where her true distorted realism allow her to dance to the perfection of what her life's become. The cinematography really gives a good feel of incite into the twisted ballerina's mind. I have to quote something I read that says it all. "It is pure horror mixed with backstage melodrama."

Questions have arisen as to rather her performance alone is worthy of the Oscar she received. Using a professional ballerina Sarah Lane, as a stand in doing a lot of the dancing, many feel would revoke her award as the movie gives you the impression she can dance as well as she can act. My personal opinion is her winning performance was based on her portrayal of this psychotic, neurotic role rather than her dancing. However, I don't understand why Sarah Lane is not even mentioned in the closing credits or on the rental box. Watching the movie, I think it's clear that Porter can stand alone on her performance as most probably realise a stand in was used for the complicated dance movements. After all, this is Hollywood where illusions are masterminded.

Famed Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), will be directing the theatrical production of Swan Lake. Many ballerinas try out but one in particular, Nina (Natalie Portman), will catch his eye. But jealous Lily (Mila Kunis), is set on the becoming the Swan Queen also. The duel roles of the White Swan and Black Swan are two different personalities and Nina can't completely allow herself to freely let go. As her mother pushes harder and jealousy increases, and the director must training Nina in the art of seduction where she finds it hard to distinguish fantasy from reality. The more she dances her way to the darker side, she begins to become one with it.

Awards include:
2010 - Art Directors Guild - Best Art Direction in a Contemporary Film
2010 - Austin Film Critics - Best Picture
2010 - Independent Spirit Awards - Best Cinematography
2010 - Screen Actors Guild - Best Actress

Protozoa Pictures, Phoenix Pictures, Rodarte, Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writers: Darren Aronofsky, Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz
Producers: Arnie Messer, Brian Oliver, Mike Medavoy
I viewed 4/11

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