Black Swan Review

Dark, disturbing and deeply beautiful are but a few ways to describe Darren Aronofsky’s award winning ‘Black Swan’, which featured astonishing performances from both Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. The story revolves around Nina, a dedicated yet slightly psychotic ballerina, with a fixation on being perfect. When offered the role of Swan Queen in the play ‘Swan Lake’, her obsession with the part and her thought-to-be competitor Lily, appears to become too much for her as she soon finds herself transforming from the innocent white swan to the demonic black swan.
Portman was undoubtedly at her best, leaving audiences speechless and moved by the end of the film. A short opening dance was used, captivating the audience from the very start. The juxtaposing white dress and pale skin that Portman had against the black background not only foreshadowed the story, but also set the scene of the film. It was a short yet flawless piece of choreography, as is all the dancing shown in the film. Both the dancing, and the choices of colour for costumes, were obviously well-thought through and complimented each other perfectly. The visual effects were outstanding, in particularly when used for the moving pictures, which to me was terrifying, and for her transforming into a swan. My only criticism for the visual aspects of this film will however be the camera work. The shots appear quite clumsy and the camera looks incredibly shaky at the start, which I found quite distracting and made the film look a little more amateur. On the other hand the choices of shot for this film, which were largely close ups adds an element of mystery to the film by making us as an audience feel as though we are in the dark.
                The complexity of the plot does mean that you may, like me, need to watch it several times before you can fully understand it; however, both the incredible acting and overall beauty of the film makes it equally enjoyable the next time you watch it. The director has cleverly constructed the film in a way that will strike a form of genuine emotion from the audience, particularly shock. Aronofsky’s used several occasions of gruesomeness at slightly unexpected times to ensure that the audience will feel shocked and slightly freaked out by what Portman’s character, Nina, was doing. The film has also been made in a way to make us as an audience feel as confused and unstable as she is, thus forcing us to begin to feel sympathy for her, particularly as her character develops. The 180o rule (this is a classic movie rule which states that the camera should always remain one side of an imaginary line so that the image doesn’t suddenly flip), was also broken at one point, causing us to feel disorientated. The film appears to have been made to manipulate the audience and I don’t think it would have been this successful if it wasn’t for this element.
                Although out-shone by Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel also gave realistic and somewhat faultless performances. Cassel captured a sense of eeriness, and honesty that this character needed, whereas Kunis captured the likability of hers, yet at the same time a two-faced nature, which was essential to bring her character to life. The casting as a whole was practically perfect for the main parts; however, on several occasions the supporting actresses who played the small part ballerinas delivered lines in a scripted manner and seemed slightly wooden, especially when they spoke in a group. Luckily, this only happened a couple of times in the film so could be easily overlooked.
                Overall, they movie as a whole was a beautiful piece of art which managed to leave me speechless by the end. It has the perfect balance of intensity, sympathy and tension, thus making it one of the best thriller films with elements of a drama that I have seen. Each construction and directed element, whether it be music, costume, acting, choreography or visual effects had been carefully thought about, and when these elements were put together, they managed to create a superb film with large amount of smart symbolism and foreshadowing. It is highly enjoyable and meaningful, and I would suggest that everyone should go see it, particularly those with an artistic or open mind when it comes to a creative film.


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