Black Swan - Review

Black Swan caught my attention pretty late. I first noticed it when a couple of friends told me that it was good and most critics celebrated Darren Aronofsky's work on this one. So it was clear that sooner or later i had to take a look at this movie.

The plot: Nina (Portman) is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica (Hershey) who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side - a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.

Natalie Portman already manifested her reputation as a serious actress in hollywood, but this is by far her best role as i think (well ok next to her role in "Leon - The Professionel"). Portman plays her role as Nina the fragile ballet dancer extremely well. Also you can clearly see how well Portman was training ballet dance moves for her role. Additionally Portman has this ballet dancer look anyway.
But i can without a doubt say that all the casting choices made for this movie are flawless. Vincent Cassel is great as the ballet teacher with his twisted teaching-methods and Mila Kunis as Lily really suprised me with her role. I always thought she was an ok actress but in this movie her role as Lily who first seems to be nice and later seems to be completely mean spirited is very good.

The movies main theme is the pressure that competition puts on young ballet dancers. Aronofsky did some great work here showing the audience a "credible" look behind the scenes of the ballet theater (except the hallucinations of course). But even more, Aronofsky succeeds in putting you into a surreal, gloomy and depressive atmosphere. The main colors in the entire movie are mostly grey and dark. It always feels like Portman is in a dream or nightmare (INCEPTION?). Aronofsky is by far as i would say, the master of this kind of mood and atmosphere. Did you see his movie "Requiem for a dream"? Boy, that's the most depressive movie no wonder. Black Swan has that kind of surreal hallucination atmosphere you also encounter in the movie "The Machinist" (which i really recommend watching).
At times Black Swan feels like a really effective and creepy horror movie, due to the constant hallucinations of Portman. Constan Mindfuck (especially that ugly old man in the subway).

The special effects in this movie are handled with care and it shows. The effects look really good and totally match the situation that Portman is in. They look extraordinarily great in the final act when Portman dances on the stage, but i dont want to give away to much.

Well, yes Black Swan has a big series of scary WTF moments but well that's the main theme of the movie and it would be very unfair of me to give away those moments so see them for yourself you wont regret it...OH and the movie has a hot sex scene too *SCORE*!

Also the movie makes great use of ballet music. The classic background music really sets the tone right and matches as good as possible.

But i have to admit that there is one big thing that i would have changed in Black Swan:


I would have found it much better if Aronofsky would have put a big logic twist at the end of the movie. That explained why Portman's mind was so fucked up all the time. Like other movies like "The Machinist" did. But i admit that that's just me and my taste.
Aronofsky's choice of giving you no logic explanation why Portman had those hallucinations doesn't hurt the movie in any way. He probably just wanted the audience to leave the theater and make them think for themselves what happened. Room for interpretations, you know?

                    !!!END OF SPOILERS!!!

All in all, Black Swan is a pretty good and impressive movie. Although it's not one of those movies that i would watch again and again but it's one of those movies where the first time you watch it feels so intense that it's the experience that counts. And don't be scared because this movie deals with ballet dancers. You absolutely don't have to be interested in ballet to like this movie. So if you want to find out how scary black swans are (they really are) and what drug addicts and ballet dancers have in common, then check out "Black Swan".

Final Verdict: 8 out of 10


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