Black Swan

Release date: December 3, 2010
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Story by: Andres Heinz
Screenplay by: Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John J. McLaughlin
Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder

Black Swan is the story of Nina Sayers (Portman), newly elevated to the role of prima ballerina in a New York City ballet company. They are starting their new season with a production of Swan Lake with Nina in the lead. While she can nail the elegance required for the role in her sleep, she’s having trouble finding the passion.

The film is all about how director Thomas (Vincent Cassel) and fellow ballerina Lily (Mila Kunis) try to coax that passion out of her before the curtain goes up on opening night… and whether or not Nina can tap into said passion without losing her mind.

I was happily able to come into Black Swan blind — I even avoided the trailer — so the framework of the film caught me very much off guard. Aronofsky has created a film that is just as much Requiem for a Dream as it is The Wrestler. The result is so startlingly visceral and unsettling, that it’s bound to divide audiences when it opens later this fall.

It is so much more than just “a ballet movie”. It’s a dark journey down the river, with themes of obsession, determination, sexuality, and the price of fame. It’s Portman’s most complicated part ever, and one that she nails at every turn. Cassel commands as the controlling and demanding director, and Mila Kunis shows us that she’s capable of more than just animated voices and rom-com’s.

But the true star of the film is Aronofsky and the seemingly bottomless bag of tricks he has at the ready. I don’t dare reveal them here… mostly because the element of surprise was what made them so powerful for me. I will say this though: I’d love to know how he employed so many mirrors in this film and avoided all camera reflections.

Black Swan is bound to be one of the most talked about films of the year. For my money, before I talk about it any more, I believe I need to see it one more time.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

by Ryan McNeil @ The Dark of the Matinee

18 Responses

  1. OMG… this movie completely shook me to the core. My innards! They quake!

    • Amy says:

      You're so lucky to have seen it. Even people in the US who live in smaller cities are having issues catching a show. They'll wait until the 22nd… in the meantime, foreign markets – we'll have to wait for next year xD

  2. @Zaniac says:

    I'm so excited to see this, it's not out here in the UK until the new year but all the positive reviews I'm seeing is making me look forward to it even more.

    • YAM Magazine says:

      The new year better than next year ;D

      Does it open wide in the UK, or just in selected cities? You know, I would suspect a movie starring Natalie Portman would sell easy. Everyone knows her. You could ask your mom which actress that age she knows, Natalie Portman is the only one. xD

  3. Ghost Writer says:

    Was blown away. Despite all the good comments, it actually live up to the greatness. However, doesn't anyone feel "great, must be favorite films" need a bit of heart? I think it needed heart, but it made up for it with awesome factor…. kinda like Inception.

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