07 January 2011

Black Swan

The other evening I saw a screening of Black Swan (It actually sold out—proof that people still go to the cinema instead of watching everything at home). In the film, Natalie Portman plays Nina, a ballerina who is chosen to perform the dual roles of the White Swan and the Black Swan in a production of Swan Lake. Nina appears to be ideal for the part of the White Swan but a new rival, the free-spirited Lily (Mila Kunis), seems to be a better fit for the Black Swan. With a rival on board, Nina delves into her dark side and loses her sanity in the process.

I didn’t love Black Swan nor did I dislike it. Parts of it were difficult to watch (I had to close my eyes a few times) while others were quite compelling.  Something that did bother me was how obviously messed up this girl was and yet no one seemed to notice. Maybe the demanding director (played by the always great Vincent Cassel) chose to ignore the warning signs in order to get a perfect performance from his dancer but no one else thought to say anything? 

Ballerina on the edge.

Yet I don’t think that the director, Darren Aronofsky, intended the film to be an indictment on the world of dance per se. Rather, I think the film represents the high cost that is paid by anyone driven to try and achieve utter perfection (Nina comments repeatedly on how she’s just trying to be perfect). That said, if you want to watch a brilliant film about a ballerina driven mad, get The Red Shoes by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (1948). Now that's a ballet film (and one of my all time favourites).

Regardless of my mixed feelings, you should see Black Swan. If nothing else, you'll know what Portman is being awarded for when she takes home the Oscar next month.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...