03 December 2010
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CineMovie break downs Darren Aronofsky's BLACK SWAN starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, and Winona Ryder in this quick movie review.
One-Word Reaction: Trippy
Plot: Natalie Portman is Nina Sayers, a mousy ballerina who wins the coveted lead role of the White and Black Swan in the production of Swan Lake. Nina is perfect as the graceful White Swan but her innocence and naivity holds her back from becoming the possessed and sexually-charged Black Swan. Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis try to bring out nina's inner wild side and seductress nature. The pressure to become the Black Swan leads to dangerous consequences for Nina.
Story: The BLACK SWAN is unpredictable and surprising in dealing with Nina's transformation into the Black Swan. The characters in the story have a purpose and no time is wasted on frivolous exposition . For the most part, the film's storyline is plausible with the exception of choosing Nina as the lead for the Black Swan when she is clearly shy and a loner.
Acting: Natalie Portman is earning rave reviews for her performance and they are well-deserved. She has always been a strong actress, and her role in Closer with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen showcased the petite actress' seductress nature. She takes it a step further with Nina in BLACK SWAN as she balances the goody-two shoes with the demands of becoming her alter ego. Part of that alter ego is her sexual romp with Mila Kunis which will surprise most of her fans.
Mila Kunis is amazing in the film as Nina's nemesis vying for the BLACK SWAN role. Mila plays the opposite of Nina's naive nature as the uninhibited ballerina who helps Nina loosen up -- for selfish reasons of course. Mila has come a long way since her goofy days on That 70's Show. French actor Vincent Cassel is perfect as the theater director who also coaxes the dangerous side of Nina to come out. Winona Ryder is the former Black Swan lead forced to retire because of her age. Her performance, felt a little forced and unbelievable. Winona still has that youthful look so buying her as an aging ballerina didn't ring true. Or perhaps she didn't sell it well. It was good to see the talented Barbara Hershey as the controlling mother who lives through her daughter Nina.
Casting was smart in that the Winona, Natalie, and Mila resemble each other which served the story. Each woman represents the past, present, and future of Nina.
Direction: Darren Aronsfsky likes to mess with your head, and in BLACK SWAN he continues the mind-tripping style that characterizes most of his films specifically his early films Pi (1998) and Reqiuem for a Dream (2000). As with most of his protagonists, there is a sense of horror as they start losing their minds and can't distinguish between reality and the surreal reality created in their psyche.
Darren impressively captures the life of a ballerina and the physical and emotional demands. From a distance, ballet seems like just another art form but this up close look ov the grueling dance really makes you feel for these young girls who train all their lives to be tossed aside once they reach their mid-30's.
Shooting with mirrors must have been hell for the production crew but the BLACK SWAN team pulled it off and used it to their advantage in showcasing Nina's downward spiral.
Recommend: Most definitely
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder