Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Rating: 9 Swan Feathers
When she is chosen to play the lead role of the Black and White Swan inside a big budget ballet company, Nina goes on a dark journey of destructive self-discovery.
That was amazing. I knew when I saw The Fountain that the director, whoever he was, was a damn genius, and here again he proves me right. Black Swan is an experience unlike any other, and you actually don’t have to be a balletomane (that’s a fan of the ballet) to enjoy this film either. It does help though.
Natalie Portman stars as Nina, shuddering her way as the White Swan through virginal little steps all in white outfits. Portman displays a wide range of emotional skill throughout the entire movie, making both the innocence of the White Swan and the utter flagrant seduction of the Black Swan all the more horrific. Through cunning tricks of simple, implied camera shots and strong acting from all parties involved, Aronofsky spins a web of horror and beauty all wrapped together in an astounding package. Towards the end, when the Black Swan actually begins literally manifesting, I was floored.
And then we have Mila Kunis, who stars as Lily, another dancer in the company who shows up at exactly the wrong time and of course immediately becomes Nina’s understudy, along with apparently defining the role in person, of the darker side of the world Nina is diving headlong into. I’m used to seeing Kunis as the lovely rather foul-mouthed femme fatale, and this role is no exception, other than Kunis has no dance experience. Aronofsky manages to fake his way through that nicely anyway. It was, after all, Lily’s idea to take Nina out the night before the big performance and drop some drugs at a club, all to let off the tension of course. So when Nina does a swan dive into the role the next night, the performance of her life quite literally, she revels in the darkness and lust she’s learned from this shadowy journey. Barbara Hershey’s performance as Nina’s mother is worth mentioning for the tension she brings, and Vincent Cassel as Nina’s instructor Leroy, for all his faults as a man, he’s still a damn fine dance instructor.
My descriptions hardly do justice to the movie itself. Normally I’d say you have to be a special kind of fan to enjoy this movie, but Black Swan went from an interesting Indie horror dance to a full on storm phenomenon. For those strange fans out there like me who enjoyed Grace and Takashi Miike’s Audition, Black Swan gets 9 beautiful swan feathers!