Black Swan (The White Swan Version). BTY, Winona Ryder is in this, right?

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Black Swan 2010Andres Heinz, Mark HeymanDarren AronofskyNatalie Portman, Mila Kunis Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Black Swan(2010)

Ballet is the last thing I would ever care to sit myself through. A carousel of pirouettes and flips in an auditorium full of penguin suits and fur vested madams seems a bit snobbish, even when I’m humbled by the wealth of talent these dancers possess. However, mix some blood gashes and hot girls making out and “Swan Lake” suddenly comes down to my level! Darren Aronofsky goes DePalma all over Tchaikovsky, whose classic ballet is turned into this year’s “Rosemary’s Baby,” with “Black Swan.”

All kidding aside, Aronofsky uses the template of the Great Russian composer’s story to explore the psychosexual awakenings of Nina (Natalie Portman), a ballerina whose anal retentive ways are about to boil over when she is cast as both the white and black swan in the upcoming season. Pushed to go beyond her boundaries by the ballet’s director, the walking hard-on Thomas (Vincent Cassel), Nina’s apologetic nature is slowly jettisoned when she engages with newcomer Lily (Mila Kunis). Lily’s sexually charged fearlessness both intimidate and provoke the socially obtuse Nina. As Nina’s inner evil begins to take flight, she perceives a psychical transformation taking hold of her, one that strains her from her overbearing mother (wonderfully nutty Barbara Hershey) while also shuffling reality with desire.

Darren Aronofsky keeps the handheld vérité from “The Wrestler” and moves it forward in this new effort. He craftfully manages to implement special effects into this standard, and quite overused, indie aesthetic, perhaps no greater than when Nina is literary turning into the black swan as she spins in front of the theater. Additionally, Aronofsky devises clever camera work (aided by longtime cinematographer Matthew Libatique) to constantly keep the audience guessing the facts and fictions of Nina’s disturbed mind. There’s also Arnonfsky’s tendency for exaggeration from his earlier films like “Pi” that still rest in him.

Still, those tendencies work well for “Black Swan,” like the excessively used labyrinth of mirrors that metaphor Nina’s duality; display the level of romanticism and repetition that Aronofsky nailed with his junkie montage in “Requiem for a Dream.” Yet, the reason this film resonates is its strong horror roots, mainly the elegant schlock of Italian legends Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento. In “Black Swan,” Aronofsky doesn’t depart from the theatricality of the ballet, but raises it with the shock and occasionally humorous intrigue of terror. “Black Swan” has a slasher beauty reminiscent of Brian DePalma’s early films.

Nonetheless, the spotlight is on Natalie Portman, and she embraces her lead ballerina role to a standing ovation. Her performance as wacky Nina is as vulnerable and fierce as a wounded animal. Portman’s ability to handle the emotional assault she’s bullied into is comparable to Naomi Watts’ betrayed actress in “Mulholland Drive.” Reserved and weird at one time, horny and mad the next, Aronofsky found in Portman the perfect swan for his deranged dance.


Official website:
Black Swan

Black Swan2010Andres Heinz, Mark HeymanDarren AronofskyNatalie Portman, Mila Kunis  Black Swan2010Andres Heinz, Mark HeymanDarren AronofskyNatalie Portman, Mila Kunis  Black Swan2010Andres Heinz, Mark HeymanDarren AronofskyNatalie Portman, Mila Kunis  Black Swan2010Andres Heinz, Mark HeymanDarren AronofskyNatalie Portman, Mila Kunis 

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