Those of you that thought Darren Aronofsky was at his best during last year’s The Wrestler will have a dramatic wake up call when you set your eyes on Black Swan. Aronofsky went back to his roots, back to the time when he would dramatically rattle your well being both mentally and visually. While I still think The Wrestler is a dramatic masterpiece, it is no Black Swan. Black Swan stars Natalie Portman as Nina, a reserved yet extremely talented ballerina that is waiting for her moment to shine. Her director Thomas played by the talented Vincent Cassel is the only thing standing between her and her dreams. The only problem is Thomas doesn’t think she has what it takes to be the star of his new imagining of Swan Lake. It’s not that she doesn’t have the skill to play the roll, it’s just that she doesn’t sweat lust and breathe the desire that is required to bring the crowd to it’s knees in the eyes of Thomas. Due to this Nina must fight to obtain and keep the roll of her dreams even if that means leaving her old personality by the wayside.
That sounds like the making of a fantastic film, and that alone could be a masterpiece under another director, but add the artistic flair of Aronofsky and a bit of mental illness and you have more than a masterpiece, you have a cinematic revolution. It’s in the mental illness of Nina that Aronofsky’s talents come to life as he transcends cinematic categories and breaks the barriers in which other films will be made. There’s just something to the feeling you get when you see films of this caliber, and how quickly they readjust your thinking of cinema as a whole. Black Swan is one of those films that has adjusted my love for film, and reminded me of my true passion for it.
Aronofsky always takes your visual experience to the next level and in Black Swan this is no different. He takes notes from the greats and makes some adjustments to create something as visually stunning as it is intriguing. If the trailer or the poster brought you any excitement of the artistic concept of the film, I am here to tell you that your expectations will be reached. Aronofsky delivers on all fronts, he even left this reviewer a little creeped out as I walked to the car. To say that his direction was breathtaking would be the perfect explanation, as my thoughts were racing the most I could say was “wow.” This proved to be the same reaction that my fellow patrons were having as the usual banter was just not available after the film.
Besides Aronofsky’s visual extravaganza Black Swan produces exceptional performances from all it’s cast members.Most of all this is true when it comes to Natalie Portman. Portman plays Nina with ease, without the subtle naivety she gives to the character the film would just not work. There were times when I wanted to slap Nina back into reality, this was not due to the fact that Portman herself was giving an annoying portrayal, but more due to the fact that the character herself was so innocently portrayed that it was completely believable . While Portman was mesmerizing in the role, the portrayal of her mother by Barbara Hershey was outstanding. As the over protective, sometimes abusive, mother Hershey had me on the edge of my seat thinking about wire hangers and how long it’s been since I have seen such parental insanity. There isn’t anyone in the cast that demands longing for a better performance, they all have given everything and it shows in the beauty of the film.
To say that Black Swan is my favorite film of the year would be an understatement. Though the year isn’t over I cant imagine any other film taking it’s place atop my Films of the Year list. The only real problem I have with the film is the fact that it’s not out in theaters now, I can’t run out and see it again and I hate waiting. All joking aside this film is a must see for any fan of cinema and possibly could be the scariest, most intriguing film you see this year.
I give Black Swan 5 “Shards of Glass” out of 5
By Ryan Davis