Wednesday, October 9, 2013
31 Days of Halloween: Black Swan (2010)
Hello, Bloggers, I didn't manage to do a review for yesterday, so like Monday, I will do two reviews today, and I will start off by doing a review of a more recent film that I meant to do a review of a long while ago, but I figured I'd wait to review it for this month in honor of Halloween. That film is the dramatic horror piece known as Black Swan.
Black Swan is inspired by the classic story of Swan Lake about a ballerina dancer named Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) who just landed the lead role in Swan Lake and finds herself competing against the newest dancer in the company, the free-spirited Lily (Mila Kunis) while being taught by the sexually domineering instructor Tomas (Vincent Cassel) and dealing with her overbearing mother Erica (Barbara Hershey). As the date for Swan Lake gets closer and closer, Nina slowly begins to lose her grip on reality and the role takes a toll on her.
What I Liked About It:
One thing that I really liked was the performances from the cast. Natalie Portman delivers a very multi-faceted and dynamic performance, as she slowly transforms from a timid and passive perfectionist, or the embodiment of the "White Swan", to a sexual and ferocious being, or the "Black Swan" of the title. Mila Kunis also shines as she plays Lily, the dancer who is very sultry and seems very spunky and free-spirited yet is very enigmatic as Nina becomes paranoid that she is trying to get her and replace her. Barbara Hershey plays a very disturbing role as Nina's mother but she is excellent. Although, just as a warning, if you watch this movie with your mom, it might be discomforting watching some of the scenes between Nina and her mother. Vincent Cassel excels at playing Tomas, the complex dance instructor who often mistreats Nina but does it to get a great dancing performance from her. But one actress I'd like to talk about is Winona Ryder. Ryder plays a dancer who is way past her prime and once she gets cast aside, it takes a toll on her as she goes on a downward spiral. She only has a few scenes, but when she is on screen, she leaves quite a mark.
Another thing that I liked was the direction from Darren Aronofsky. It appears that Aronofsky has a love for Roman Polanski's work as I remembered how there were some scenes shot similar to Rosemary's Baby where Nina is walking down the street then it cuts to her being in a different place. I thought that was a nice homage to Polanski, another marvelous director. Plus, the character of Nina has some similarities to the lead character in Rosemary's Baby, who like Nina feels that everyone is against her. I liked how Aronofsky took inspiration from Polanski without taking too much from his work, so major props to him. I also thought it was neat how they had most of the characters wear either black or white, to represent the whole "white swan vs. black swan" conflict that serves as the basis for the film's story.
What I Didn't Like About It:
Overall, Black Swan is a hauntingly beautiful masterpiece that features a commanding and deservingly Oscar-winning performance from Natalie Portman, and magnificent performances from the rest of the cast as well.