Black Swan

Black Swan

Four stars - MicealJ

8 Points

Viewer Rating:MicealJ has rated Black Swan rating: 4 Star

The story of “Swan Lake” is the story of the battle between the pure and good white swan and the purely evil black swan. The story of “Black Swan” is how a young ballerina is torn apart when she is called on to play both roles. Nina (Natalie Portman) is a quiet, timid little girl in a young woman's body, completely dominated by her overbearing mother (Barbara Hershey) and completely obsessed with being the prima ballerina of her ballet company. She gets her chance when the head of the company Thomas (Vincent Cassel) 'retires' the current star (Winona Ryder) and offers Nina this dual role in a major upcoming production. He tells Nina that he knows she is perfect as the good – he needs to see her bring out the bad.
Tapping into her dark side requires Nina to grow up, to develop her sexuality, something she is fearful of doing and something her mother is absolutely determined to prevent. Add to that her growing paranoia over a possible rival in the troupe who just might snatch the role from her and Nina's already delicate mental state tips over ever further into the abyss – etc.
This is a real full on throw everything into the mix sort of film. Horror; tragedy; melodrama; sex; violence – they're all there, and in full effect. It's horrifying; it's terrifying – it's devastating. You are watching someone crumble before your eyes and you can't not look. As has been said ad nauseam – Natalie Portman is superb. No-one does shy and timid better but a real stand-out for me were the (all too brief) contributions from Winona Ryder – no-one USED to do shy and timid better but here she shows what has happened to that person when life has shredded her.
This is a dark, dark film – shot in muted and grainy colours all the exterior scenes are at night and those inside are harshly lit until we come to the climactic scenes – the ballet itself. A dazzling finale that shows what all the suffering has been for – and invites the viewer to ask was it worth it.

Review published on the 28 January 2011 09:10

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