Saturday, 25 February 2012

Black Swan

Black Swan is a recent creepy psychological suspense movie, directed by Darren Aronofsky. It has earned huge critical acclaim, and, although I had one or two reservations about it, I can see why. It is visually stunning, the acting is terrific, and the music complements the story superbly.

Natalie Portman plays Nina Sayers, a beautiful and driven ballerina with a company based in New York. She lives with her very protective mother (Barbara Hershey) and it soon becomes clear that she is a perfectionist, with “issues”. The company is due to perform a new version of Swan Lake and Nina wants the lead role.

The director of the company (Vincent Cassel) is brilliant but odious, and he dumps his former favourite (Winona Ryder) in favour of Nina. But another dancer called Lily (Mila Kunis) is also after the top job. The relationship between Nina and Lily is a key area of focus of the film.

It’s a chilling movie, but the story structure is relatively simple and rather predictable. It wasn’t difficult to foresee more or less what would happen. But this is perhaps a quibble. The film is compelling to watch, and Portman is very good in an extremely demanding role. Kunis, Cassel and Hershey are also excellent. Among recent films I’ve watched, only The King’s Speech seemed to me to be superior.


Deb said...

I'm sorry but I must disagree with you, Martin. I found "The Black Swan" by turns kitschy and revolting--and poor Barbara Hershey was lit and made-up so badly, she should have sued. "The King's Speech" was by far the more superior movie in every way.

aguja said...

Thank you for this psot. I have seen 'The King's Speech' but not 'Black Swan'. I have heard about it and wondered whether or not to locate and watch it. The fact that you found it compelling, draws me.

John said...

I agree with Deb -- with the exception of one or two scenes the whole thing is extremely derivative of too many films that came before. BLACK SWAN reminded me of about four different Brian DePalma movies so many scenes seemed directly lifted from Carrie, Sisters, Dressed to Kill and Body Double. On the other hand -- my brother, who suggested we see it together, abosolutely loved it.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks as ever for your comments. I can see why the melodrama isn't to everyone's taste. And I should have added to my post that Never Let Me Go made more of an impression on me than either this movie or even the excellent The King's Speech.