Saturday, February 5, 2011

Black Swan

Black Swan
Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel
Directed by Darren Aronofsky

 Nina (Natalie Portman) is a top New York ballet dancer who lives and breathes ballet. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) decides to replace retiring dancer, Beth (Winona Ryder), doors open drastically for Nina when she is chosen to portray the Swan Queen. However, Leroy wants one dancer to be both the vulnerable, pure white swan, as well as her seductive, villainous "twin sister" the black swan. Nina perfectly embodies the former, but struggles to let herself fall into her dark side. Competition presents itself in the form of Lily (Mila Kunis) who epitomizes the black swan and paranoia becomes a big part of Nina's every day life. She loses all trust she ever had in anyone, even her critical, former dancer mother (Barbara Hershey) and soon this spirals into destruction.

Darren Aronofsky creates sheer art with every aspect of this film and every award nomination is deserved. The cinematography (with hand held camera actions playing a big role) captures the movement of dance and the overwhelming paranoia perfectly and the well-written twists keep you on your toes to the very surprising end.

What draws the audience in even further is the identifiable situations and the real performances. You feel the fear of losing and the intoxicating need to be perfect. You identify with not being able to share a part of yourself with the world and the grace a wonderful achievement can bring.  This film shocks to the core, but mystifies and amazes just as successfully.

One has to have respect for strong performances, especially when they include such precision dancing. Classical Ballet is the most difficult dance form, but Natalie Portman achieves what every ballerina strives to: she makes it look effortless.

Vincent Cassel is just as impressive as the vain, yet charming; seductive, yet intriguing artistic director.

Black Swan has already won numerous awards, including a Golden Globe for best actress (Natalie Portman) and is now up for five awards at the 83rd annual Academy Awards: Best Actress in a Leading Role (Portman), Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing and, of course, Best Picture.

For more information, downloads and the trailer, check out the official site:

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