Black Swan Reviews
Una obra maestra, Black Swan consolida a Darren Aronofsky como uno de los mŠximos exponentes de los thrillers psicolůgicos. Visceral, oscura, impactante y una soberbia actuaciůn de Natalie Portman.
But I think I am getting ahead of myself. Aronofsky‚(TM)s new film ‚Black Swan‚? centers on Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), a ballet dancer who is technically proficient, but lacks the raw emotional element of the craft. She lives with her mother, Erica (Barbara Hershey), who once a dancer herself and now wants Nina to succeed farther than she ever could. Erica had to stop dancing after she got pregnant, and she now is the ultimate stage-mom, controlling every moment of her daughter‚(TM)s life and browbeating her when she questions her guidance.
Nina‚(TM)s other instructor in life is the suave, challenging Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel.) He casts Nina in the duel role of the White and Black swans in his new ‚stripped-down‚? production of Tchaikovsky‚(TM)s ‚Swan Lake.‚? Leroy tells her that she is perfect for the White Swan, but that in order to play the Black Swan to perfection, she must let go and feel the passion and the intensity.
Perfection is the key word here. Aronofsky has called his new film ‚a perfect companion piece‚? to his previous film, ‚The Wrestler,‚? which, along with his previous three (‚The Fountain,‚? ‚Requiem for a Dream,‚? ‚Pi‚?) also dealt with obsession and addiction. This time, Aronofsky tackles the obsession with perfection, and Portman is his puppet.
After a rival dancer (Mila Kunis) arrives and seems to be out to get her, Nina slowly begins to deteriorate mentally and physically, as she descends into a downward spiral that only Aronofsky could possibly have envisioned.
Portman has received much acclaim for what many film critics have called the performance of her career. I don‚(TM)t want to spoil what Aronofsky and crew have cooked up for a finale by talking too much about specifics in her performance, but in the final third, audiences can expect to discover a side of Portman that almost unrecognizable, as she seemingly goes to a dark and sinister place in her mind to become the duel role. Trained for almost a year to prepare for this role, and the hard work definitely shows. It is a stunning balancing act of technical and emotional skill, and she is superb.
Portman‚(TM)s performance is complimented by some very good supporting work from the always-terrific Cassel, Barbara Hershey and Mila Kunis. Unfortunately, this is where the film becomes harder to discuss.
When talking about the characters and their intentions, the lines between reality and Nina‚(TM)s imagination become so profusely blurred that I am left asking myself, ‚Who cares?‚? I don‚(TM)t want to be asking that question, and I almost feel guilty considering how much I have admired Aronofsky‚(TM)s work in the past‚"‚The Wrestler‚? was one of the best films of the past decade. But this time around, he has ventured into horror movie territory and fumbled the raw passion that Nina herself actually does finally realize with her final transformation, a stunning visual effect and an image that still haunts my mind.
I understand that this movie is pure melodrama, and that the stakes are raised to the nth degree in order to achieve the grandest of finales. We are shown absurd images of Nina‚(TM)s degenerating mental state, as her psychoses lead her to transform into the swan (an elongated neck here, bird legs there, black feathers all over), and it is a fascinating concept.
But the concept is immersed in heavy-handed symbolism and disconcertingly average ‚jump-scares‚? and other horror conventions that have no place here. I have given a lot of thought to the ending, and have decided that it works better than I originally concluded. This movie most certainly deserves a second look, but right now I think that it is Aronofsky‚(TM)s weakest outing yet.
The cinematography by Matthew Libatique (another Aronofsky regular) is also worth mentioning, as it is the most distracting and irritating work he has done. That is a mouthful, considering that he worked on the erratically filmed ‚Requiem for a Dream‚? and ‚Pi.‚? He did not work on ‚The Wrestler,‚? but it seems as though he is trying to replicate that same style of following closely behind the main character wherever she goes. It is way too shaky this time around. I will say that the ballet scenes are wonderfully captured. Handheld cameras were used here to a greater advantage, so the dancers could be chased around as they flutter on and offstage, creating a wonderful flow of movement.
What works best in ‚Black Swan,‚? aside from the performances, is the wonderful use of Tchaikovsky‚(TM)s music, arranged and (I assume) remixed by the brilliant Clint Mansell, an Aronofsky regular whose work never fails to send chills up my spine. His music is like another character in the film, as it lives and breathes just like Nina does. Now if Aronofsky could have only managed to breathe a little more life into the film itself, it could have been a far more interesting film.