Posted by barkha on March 3, 2011 | 1 Comment
FILM – Black Swan
PRODUCER – Scott Franklin, Mike Medavoy, Arnold Messer, Brian Oliver, Joseph P. Reidy and Jerry Fruchtman (co-producers)
DIRECTOR – Darren Aronofsky
WRITER – Mark Heyman, John McLaughlin (screenplay), Andrés Heinz (story and screenplay)
CAST – Natalie Portman,Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis
MUSIC – Clint Mansell
Darkness of the soul and human vulnerability have always been Darren Aronofosky’s (Requiem for a dream, the Wrestler) pet themes. With Black Swan he infuses his trademark violence and visceral examination of flawed characters with an operatic richness. Psychosis meets perfection as hallucinations flirt with reality in Aronofsky’s bravura adaptation of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet, Swan Lake (1875–1876).
A film of contrasts and comparisons, Black Swan unfolds the story of the ballet through its protagonist’s life. Nina, (Natalie Portman) a nervous, disturbed, ballet dancer is chosen for the part of the Swan Queen for her company’s production of Swan Lake. Her fragility and perfection of moves make her the ultimate choice to play the White Swan. But she lacks that passion and self-assured abandon that would become a guileful Black Swan, her dark counterpart. As she struggles to ‘loosen herself’ in her dance moves, Nina draws closer to her own darker self with multiple implications.
A twisted tale of perceptions, hallucinations, good, evil, friendship, rivalry and relationships ensues. With dark sexual overtones and violent allusions of physical transformation through inner change, the film travels an intense yet even path. Nina is gripped by her fears, her struggle against her mother’s dominance and her own duality. Her ballet director (Vincent Cassel) pushes her to let her darker side loose even as Lily (Mila Kunis), her understudy morphs from friend to foe in Nina’s delusional world..
A multi-layered screenplay doesn’t keep its characters are not easy or easy to read. So the dominating mother who is living vicariously through Nina also skirts the territory of sexual abuse and Lily’s identity dubiously oscillates between a genuine friend and a rival using her sexuality. These shades add several dimensions to the film whose emotional intensity is unquestionable. However, a predictability of contrasts, straight laced definitions of black and white, lack of greys and a somewhat singularly neurotic performance by the main lead make the film a little less than its own promise.
Visually enchanting with a painstaking eye for detail, Black Swan is a technical aha!Aronofsky uses the spectacle of ballet to add drama and scale. Colours and symbols, costume and setting collide to beautifully capture the film’s schizophrenia. Not a particularly enjoyable or enlightening experience, Black Swan is delightful for those who exult in visually powerful narratives and dangerous themes. And flawed human beings and their undoings.