Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Movie Review: Black Swan

I could have easily started off the 2011 film season with a different movie. Perhaps something more macho, like True Grit. Maybe something more true to life, like 127 Hours. Or how about something more cool, like Tron Legacy. But no. Instead, I opted to start the season off right by watching a movie about ballerinas; and I can't say that I regret it.

Little Nina (Natalie Portman) is uber excited about her dance companies newest production; a re-imagining of the Russian classic Swan Lake. Gunning for the main role as the Swan Queen seems within Nina's grasp as all the years of studious practice and the careful nurturing of her domineering mother, Erica (Barbara Hershey), has accumulated to her getting the part. However, the part of the Swan Queen requires a little more than technical perfection. The pure and elegant Nina is urged by her ballet director, Thomas (Vincent Cassel), to find her animalistic and sensual being. Though Nina prefers to be imagined as perfect and pure, her behaviour leads us to believe that she may in fact be impervious to her own desires and impulses. The new arrival to the company, Lily (Mila Kunis) from San Francisco, proves to be a worthy foe. Not only can she dance well, Lily dances with an unbridled passion which Nina begins to envy. In a whirlwind of lust and psychosomatic paranoia Nina is guided by her counterpoint Lily and urged by her director Thomas' solicitation to discover her inner Black Swan.

Black Swan is directed by Darren Aronofsky, who is one of the most important modern directors. This movie in fact falls right into Aronofsky's territory. Usually suited to directing films that contain themes of overt sexual deviance and characters who overwhelmingly display obsessive compulsive behaviours, it should come as no surprise that he has also directed such family friendly classics such as Requiem for a Dream and π. Aronofsky finally received the mainstream admiration he deserved with the success of his 2008 drama, The Wrestler, starring the then obscure Mickey Rourke. The often dark and twisted themes of Aronofsky's films may not be to the taste of mainstream cinema, however, they portray all too real mainstream ills of our modern society and explore the inner recesses of the human psyche which many would rather leave in the background. Some think of Aronofsky as a horror film maker. I think that may be a fair criticism...

Who would be your free pass? You do know what a free pass is, right? A free pass is the one famous person that you are allowed to, for lack of a better word, bone without any punishment or repercussions. Now, I know this is bending the rules a little bit but I have two candidates for my free pass. If the situation called for a one night stand, I may be swayed to choose Miranda Kerr. If the situation called for a much longer endeavor I would choose Natalie Portman. The rational is quite sound, if you'd hear me out. Miranda Kerr is the obvious choice as a one night stand because she is an astounding Smoke Show. Natalie Portman is an obvious choice for a long-term endeavor because she is not only a smoke show but an unbelievably talented actress who is Harvard educated, trained in ballet and has geek-cred as she starred in the Star Wars movies episodes 1 through 3 and the graphic novel V for Vendetta. The choice is quite clear, really. For one, Natalie and I (since we are on a first name basis) would have plenty to talk about as she is an obvious fan of the liberal arts. Natalie plays such a wide range of characters and no matter how damaged they are I find myself falling for her. For all I know, she could be a total dud in person but since she is such a great actress I could only imagine the role play that could potentially erupt in the bedroom. I assume you are nodding in agreeance.

So what did I think about the film? Well, to sum it up quite briefly, Black Swan is a fantastic psycho-thriller that will transform into something you never really expected. It had me at the edge of my seat just waiting for the inevitable climax which is sure to exhilarate and terrify the audience all at the same time. That phrase will come off as a sort of oxymoron but just hang in there for the last 45 minutes or so and you will know what I'm talking about. Black Swan has the potential to make you cringe, laugh, weep, scream and get aroused; all very important features of a well made movie in my opinion. It is a fine example of story telling in a genre that is usually reserved for kitschy effects and scares. Black Swan lives up to the hype, is a great start to the 2011 film season and an obvious front runner for the Oscars. If I found it worthy of a previously defunct Small Time Visionary Movie Review, you should probably go see it.



No comments:

Post a Comment