Even though it has been categorized as a psychological thriller, but Black Swan is much scarier than your regular thriller. As well as good old-fashioned ‘jump’ moments (moments that make you jump, in case that wasn’t obvious enough), some images in the film were gruesome enough to scare. Thankfully those moments don’t cross over to gore-porn territory, but they are disturbing. I have to say, the film really isn’t for the faint hearted.
The film follows ballerina Nina (Natalie Portman), as she struggles with the role of Swan Queen in a production of Swan Lake, and her rivalry with new girl, Lily (Mila Kunis). Both Portman and Kunis are brilliant in their roles. It’s amazing what make-up and lighting can do to make them look so similar at times. But Mila Kunis’ performance was quite unexpectedly good (especially since all I know her as is Jackie in That 70s Show, and the voice of Meg in Family Guy), without giving any spoilers, when you see her in the film, she seems perfect for what she eventually represents in relation to the development of Natalie Portman’s character. Vincent Cassel’s character also plays an important part in that, and he as well is very good as the director of the production, though his accent seemed a little all over the place, whether or not he was trying to do an accent I do not know. If that’s what he really sounds like when he speaks English, then he should probably try putting on a French accent. It will be a little more believable.
The split personality, Jekyll & Hyde thing has been done many times before, and Darren Aronofsky doesn’t attempt to anything drastically new, and I think its better that way. It’s also not very complicated; there’s nothing to distract you from the main focus of Nina, and her exploration and the evolution of her ‘Black Swan’.
Visually it’s a stunning film. The ballet scenes are beautifully shot, especially the longer tracking shots. They must have been so difficult to shoot. The effects are also really good, although my favorite effects moment would be a complete spoiler. But it happens towards the end. It is so disturbing, and yet so amazing at the same time. There were so many mirrors in the film! I’m not really sure what entirely to make of that, but there were way too many to have, just because. Obviously, there are scenes were the mirror is extremely important to the drama and suspense, and sometimes the horror. But mirrors are sometimes just there, and nothing happens in them. But there is some significance to them… and I will figure out.
Black Swan has actually made me want to go see the ballet. Well, not just any, but Swan Lake, even though I know I will be disappointed that the Swan Queen ballerina isn’t going through some serious psychological problems. It has also made me really want to watch Aronofsky’s other work, which I have seen none of. That’s probably more likely.
I’ve read a few bad things about Black Swan, and while I don’t expect everyone to love it, it will be a shame if people don’t give it a chance based on what they read. I loved it, and even though I may be scarred for life.