Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Black Swan (2010)

Director Darren Aronofsky is a unique beast in Hollywood. A filmmaking auteur, his five films have been wildly different but always exceptionally challenging and distinctive. With Black Swan, a remarkable experience in psychological horror, his work continues to evolve in this way. In short, a young New York ballet dancer, Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), is given the chance to live her dream portraying the “Swan Queen” in a performance of Swan Lake under the demanding, watchful eye of revered director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel). Overwhelming pressure from the ever growingly closer performance, her obsessive mother and guilt of stepping into the place of Beth Macintyre (Winona Ryder), a once beloved performer now shunned by Leroy, takes its toll and Nina slowly descends into hallucination and extreme behaviour. What becomes clear early on is that the film’s narrative is Swan Lake, making Black Swan, the movie, an achievement perhaps to overwhelming to comprehend after just one viewing.