Mar 8, 2011

Black Swan (2010) - release the darkness from within

directed by Darren Aronofsky / starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassell, Mila Kunis

 I had better luck today: the projector at the cinema actually worked! So now I've finally seen Black Swan. Before the praising commences (I've been reading Jane Eyre again and that old English is quite catchy!), I want to complain about something. I often go to movies alone, like, I'd imagine, many people do. So I went to see The King's Speech, alone. This is the dialogue that occured at the counter. Me: "Hi, The King's Speech, please." The girl at the counter: "One?" Me: "Yes." Okay. Then, yesterday. Me: "Hi, ONE for Black Swan, please." TGATC: "Anyone coming to sit next to you?" Me: "... No." Today, the girl at the counter gave me one ticket without asking questions. Then I get to my seat and a couple of rows below me there is a girl from my year and the first thing she says is: "Are you alone?" Me: (sigh) "Yes, I am." Just let me go to movies by myself, okay? It doesn't bother me, it shouldn't bother you. Gee...

And actually, I'm very happy I went to see Black Swan by myself. I hate that awkward moment after a film like that ends and you quickly try to sweep the awe off your face and start casually chating with your friends. Now I got to stay in awe all the way back home. I still kind of am.

Black Swan is about Nina, an ambitious, passionate and talented ballerina, who lives to dance and settles for nothing less than perfection. She is cast as the Swan Queen in a production of Swan Lake, dancing the roles of both swans, the black and the white. The White Swan comes naturally for Nina, as she's reserved, graceful and vulnerable. Problem is the Black Swan, whose seductive, decadent and bewitching presence Nina finds hard to assume. Then there's Lily, the new girl who seems to have everything Nina lacks: she's loose, care-free, open and naturally flirtatious. The director of the ballet, Thomas, tells Nina the only person standing in her way is herself, but she's not so sure.

(OOOOH holy mother of... My flatmate just came to my door and said my name in a normal voice and I literally screamed and jumped about five inches to the air. I guess I'm still a bit paranoid after the film. I better sleep on it and continue tomorrow.)

Black Swan is... impressive. Very impressive. The haunting music and the camera angles create an ominous and oppressive mood that keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way through. There are hardly any lighter scenes or comic reliefs. The world from Nina's point of view is a cruel and selfish place, lacking love and compassion and kindness. She is fragile and insecure and as she tries to search her mind for its darker side, it slowly begins to fall apart. It is done very well and I might have had a few minor heart attacks because of the scariest scenes. Creepy, but brilliant.

Let us praise the female leads, then! Nina might've had trouble in finding the evil twin from within, but Natalie played both the White and Black Swan perfectly from the beginning. Enjoy that fully-deserved golden statue, momma! And Mila Kunis fits wonderfully in the role of the playful Lily. I also liked Winona Rider's minor role as the bitter ex-superstar ballerina.

It was fun watching the scenes with Natalie and her then-choreographer/now-fiancé Benjamin Millepied. I kept a hopeful eye for some secret mutual glances and lingered touches, but unfortunately didn't spot any. Natalie was right, he is a good actor! I totally believed he didn't want to sleep with her!

 Ballet is such a beautiful form of dancing and the Swan Lake is such an emotional and powerful story, with score to die for. Just a few tones of the melody of that final act gives me a huge rush of goosebumps. The last scenes of the film kind of blew me away and there's just one word to describe it: perfect. Black Swan is an impressive film that will linger in your mind long after the last frame fades away. (And I bitterly add it to the list of films that I think would've deserved the Best Picture Oscar more than you-know-what. (No, I'm still not quite over this.))

"How about I dance the Black Swan for you?"


bubble said...

Black Swan is a terrific movie. Ballet, Natalie, psychological elements and haunting music.. What could go wrong? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Can't wait to see this again!

p.s. I agree with you on the whole going-to-the-movies-by-myself thing. I mean, I rarely go to the movies by myself, but the moment after the expirience is so true, you just kind of want to be alone.. To gather all your emotions and be in love. I have exactly the same feeling especially after really good music gigs. My friends sometimes immidiately start praising the band/artist, but I feel like I need to be quiet.. To just stand still.

Eeva said...

Ooh, yes, I'm also definitely tempted to go see it another time in cinema, because that's surely how it should always be seen.

And yes. Another thing about cinemas is, you can never seem too impressed or in awe after a film (has something to do with the wondeful Finnish unwritten rule that you should never show your emotions in public too much... I guess that's why I never cry in cinemas, only at home when watching a film alone), you're expected to shake the awe the moment the lights go on and return to reality just like that... When I'm a multibillionaire the first thing I buy is a private cinema. ;)