Monday, December 6, 2010

Black Swan

I've been away from my site for about 5 months now and without going into detail about why, needless to say, I'm back! What a great 2010 Summer it's been for films, and with it all closing into the new year we are also having one hell of an award season. With films like Inception, Toy Story 3, The Social Network, 127 Hours, Winters Bone, The Town, The Fighter, and Black Swan, I have been very busy at the theater in the past few months. Still on the way this year we have True Grit, Tron: Legacy, and my most anticipated film of the year....Blue Valentine. I'm going to start my return to this site with my review of Black Swan which I saw earlier today.

I was expecting nothing short of being entertained to the fullest while walking into the theater with the digital marque above reading Black Swan. I was so excited as I walked to my seat. I was heading into the ring to face one of the most talented people in the biz....Darren Aronofsky. Not only does this guy have a rep for beating the shit out of his actors and bringing the best out of them, he also tends to have the same effect on his audience. So instead of putting up a fight I just sat back, relaxed, and took a beating. It was great.

The film stars Natalie Portman as Nina, an obsessive ballet dancer who just scored the lead role in the production of Swan Lake. As she struggles to prepare for the role physically and mentally she comes to realize that it's much harder than she thought. The exceptional supporting cast includes Mila Kunis as Lily, the extraordinary Barbara Hershey as Nina's mother Erica, Winona Ryder as Beth, and Vincent Cassel as Thomas Leroy the director of Swan Lake. Every performance is great in this film but the one who really shines is Portman. As I watched her battle her demons on screen, deal with her over protective and obsessive mother, and dance on as good as any professional ballet dancer I've seen, I was wooed. Just learning the art of basic ballet on it's own would be too much for a lot of actors out there to take on. Portman takes it to the next level. Barbara Hershey plays one of the creepiest mothers I've seen in film this year and she's absolutely flawless as she not only loves her daughter more than ever, but also psychotically obsesses over her at the same time. Mila Kunis' Lily is wild, careless, sexy, and seductive. Need I say more?

The score is soft and elegant piano in some scenes and eery as hell in others. The cinematography is very similar to The Wrestler with the close behind shots of Portman walking around and with the sudden quick close-ups which make for some great jumps of sheer fright for the audience. Black Swan is destined to get a whole bunch of noms and wins this awards season. I could talk about it more but not without giving away it's secrets. Black Swan gets an 8 outs 10.