Saturday, 21 April 2012

Black Swan (2011)

I didn't quite know what to expect to be honest. Obviously it had already garnered a lot of critical acclaim and the awards, so good performances were expected. It is definitely a very carefully made film; it feels as if everything was purposefully chosen. The actresses (Natalie Portman in the lead and Mila Kunis in supprot) were perfect for their roles. Portman really manages to capture the uptight and cagey Nina in both the standard acting and even the dancing, but is able to pull off the final transformation in the finale too (which is probably what bagged her the academy award). Similarly, Kunis encapsulates the well meaning, slightly chaotic free spirit of Lily, and it comes off in a way that I imagine everyone feels they know someone a bit like her.

Costume and makeup, two things that don't often cross my mind, were done particularly well too. Looking past the obvious black/white difference between Nina and Lily, everything strives to take the two equally stunning women to different ends of the spectrum: Nina is very much the classical beauty while Lily is hot and attractive. It's just all the little hints that add up to make the film beautiful itself.

As for the actual plot, I feel it was left a bit wanting. It's a bit too obvious, especially in the last act, in the subversion of Swan Lake, and I barely even know the plot of SL. I did enjoy the psychological thriller aspects quite a lot though. Nina's delusions are something you can never quite be sure about. The ending was terribly disappointing. I suppose, given how it followed Swan Lake, it was the only real way you could end it but the execution was a little lacklustre. That's the only real gripe I had with the film, but after all the good it did leave a bit of a bitter taste.

Just as a footnote, I knew the name Aronofsky, but wasn't sure if I knew his other work. After looking him up I can totally see the influence from doing The Wrestler had on the production of Black Swan.

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