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MOVIE REVIEW: Black Swan

Posted on December 8, 2010

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Screenplay: Mike Medavoy, Scott Franklin, Arnold Messer, Brian Oliver

Starring: Natalie Portman Vincent Cassel Mila Kunis

Release Date: December 3, 2010

Heard about all the hype about this movie and want to check it out? Well, if you're planning on watching Black Swan, don't expect to see a movie filled with pink tutus, fairy dust and girls made of sugar and spice. Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan is an erotic, twisted thriller that might just disturb you. Actually, I'm sure it will. Aronofsky manipulates the world of ballerina dance to tell a beautifully dark tale of a young woman who aspires to become the perfect candidate to personify both innocence and depravity. Through scenes of lust, corruption, violence and psychotic tendencies, Black Swan is a truly dark masterpiece.

Natalie Portman plays Nina, a determined ballerina who aims to land the lead role of their production company's adaption to Swan Lake. Nina strives for perfection when it comes to her dance, and her technique is flawless. Sadly, she lacks soul and emotion when she performs. Though many trails of trying to impress the production's director, Thomas, she is conflicted in making the right choices in order to win the part. Although Nina's skill in the art of ballet is unmatched, if she is to play the part of the Swan Queen, she must learn how to emote two different personas: one being the innocent white swan, and the other being the sensuous black swan.

Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler) is a master at work when it comes to delivering the eerie, tormented atmosphere to his films. From each camera shot, to the lighting choice and use of shadows, Aronofsky adds some light into this dark tale. Of course, credit to the amazing cinematography goes to Matthew Libatique, who provides skillful camerawork to give each bold and dramatic scene an unblinkable quality. And let us not forget Clint Mansell's score. He weaves in the familar tune of Tchaikovsky's work to arrange an uncanny piece of music that's both daunting and stimulating.

But even with Libatique's handy camera shots and Andrew Weisblum's editing, I felt somewhat cheated. The way particular scenes were shot seemed to only serve the purpose of a cheap scare. And I understand that this film was to suppose to give you a very disturbed feeling, which it accomplished. So I don’t know why it was necessary to add all the “jump” scares that it did. The movie seemed to be dark enough as it was.

Some of the dialogue sounded a bit lazy, which is strange considering the very poetic nature of the film. But when someone says “did you suck his cock” in a movie that's supposed to perform like poetry, I just don't know what to think. During these moments of lazy dialogue, nothing but laughter seemed to have filled the theater. Of course, the funny moments of the film were funny. But some of the dialogue just made be cringe.

However, the film was very good. I didn't expect this film to be perfect, which it wasn't, but I was most certainly impressed. And of course, I cannot finish this review without mentioning the Natalie Portman's performance. As her character charmed me with her purity and innocence, her transformation into the black swan was incredible. All the emotion that was put into her role as Nina was expressed to the highest caliber. Portman delivers a truly unforgettable performance.

Black Swan is a great achievement by Aronofsky and crew. Incredible performances, skillfully put togther by a team of amazing filmmakers, alluring score by Clint Mansell and a compelling story with a perfect ending. It's just too bad the movie wasn’t perfect, but it was damn near close.

8.9 out of 10
Review by: Richard Fagel


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