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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Crusader Movie Review: Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" really surprised me, and I wasn't expecting to get blown away by it well until I was already in the middle of the movie where its ugly and intense "psychological drama" head popped right into the picture. To be fair, I've heard so many praises and great things about this movie beforehand, and that was like two months ago when the movie started showing in US theaters officially. I simply could not relate with why people found it so good, and I only had the trailer to guide me through as to what the premise was all about, showing a struggling ballet dancer played by Natalie Portman succumb to the pressures inside and outside of the coveted ballet performance she is aiming to highlight and star on - "Swan Lake". Heck, I wasn't even aware that Mila Kunis and Winona Ryder were co-starring on the film, and now that I've seen it via the long awaited local press screening, I can finally give my two cents worth on possibly one of the best psycho-art films I've ever gotten the chance to sit through and see to completion.

Movie: Black Swan
Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

Set in New York City, Black Swan centers on Nina Sayers, a ballet dancer who lives with her mother and works to win the part as the "Swan Queen" in a production of Swan Lake. Her producer, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), sees her skills as perfection for the part of the White Swan, but remains unimpressed with the lack of passion and intensity necessary to play the Black Swan. After confronting him over the role and biting Thomas in the lip when he kisses her, Nina wins the part of the Swan Queen. Her happiness in getting the role soon turns into a rollercoaster ride of insane proportions, as circumstances and the pressure in her ballet and private life cause her to tip further and further into the edge of a textbook psychotic breakdown. In her zeal to win the lead, Nina's mind starts to crack, and everything she once knew has turned upside down and black and white altogether.

Black Swan Trailer

I've never been into ballet dancing much, but after watching Black Swan, you have to commend the passion and dedication put into this art. It's a well-known fact that Natalie Portman and her co-star Mila Kunis put a lot of effort and practice to become adept at ballet themselves, and all the training and learning they put themselves under literally paid off with the end result that is this brilliant film of elegance and fragility. Besides the dancing though, much of the praise goes to the superb acting quality displayed in this film by its well assembled cast. Natalie Portman's character of Nina looks so innocent and reserved at first, but it soon becomes apparent that the girl's mind is troubled, to the point she becomes increasingly paranoid and delusional as the movie progress. Worsening this condition is the constant pressure from all points that directly connect to her life - her mother's overprotective nature; the director's demands; paranoia and competition over a rival dancer; and her own insecurities over and above all else. These add depth and emphasis to the story of Black Swan that won't be immediately understood by the audience unless they read in between the lines of what's going on with the characters and their actions. Heck, don't get me started on the intimate and intense moments of the film that revolve around sex and all. It's all worth watching this one from start to finish, and yeah, Mila Kunis is one fiery babe next to Natalie Portman's troubled cutie girl.

To put it quite simply, Black Swan is an art film that's both a crazy and majestic piece of cinema entertainment one can treat themselves to. It shouldn't be taken too seriously nor too lightly, and the themes that go with the film spell controversy and debate all over that its bound to get people talking regardless of their stance on the matter. As for my take, I loved it and would definitely recommend it to the next person looking for a film that's not so common to watch. Natalie Portman won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Movie Drama for this role, so that already speaks volumes why it's damn worth seeing.

Rating - 5/5

*Originally posted by Timzster in The Crusader's Realm

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