Saturday, December 11, 2010

Black Swan (2010)

Ah, nothing like spending a few hours in the fun-filled wonderland of Darren Aronofsky. Seriously though, this is really well done, and I remain a big Aronofsky fan. It explores Aronofsky's favorite themes, chief of which seems to be obsession. In this case, Natalie Portman's obsession with becoming and staying the lead in Swan Lake. It becomes an intense, psycho-sexual thriller based on this. It exists somewhere between a nightmare and a hallucination. Here is what I am still thinking about (and, a quick aside, we went to see this with 7 other people as part of the plans for Tina's birthday, and this has got to be the first movie in a long while where the group basically split into discussion groups to talk about what we just saw) So, here is what I was thinking about: one of the criticisms of the movie is that perhaps the movie is a bit too obvious in it's themes and characters (the "alternate", the horny director etc. Even the soundtrack seemed be too obvious to some) Aronofsky leaves it ambiguous as to who our rooting interest is supposed to be. But the movie is made like a ballet in that pretty much everything he is trying to represent has to be represented visually (duh) and audibley (I might have made up that word)(the Clint Mansell score). I mean he leaves it somehwhat ambiguous as to whose point of view we are looking at this from. I think it is coming from Natalie Portman's point of view, and that's why the movie follows the basic beats of Swan Lake itself, and why its imagery is somewhat, I guess you could, say obvious. Its by design. I am probably stating the obvious, somewhat, but I actually don't think its all that obvious. Or, at least it wasn't to me, at first. At any rate, its a pretty amazing take on obsession, and to an extent, body horror that follows it (seriously a few scenes reminded me of a David Cronenberg movie, one scene in particular reminded me of The Fly.) I also think this is Natalie Portman's best work in a long time. Really good, creepy, and unsettling stuff. (As another aside: Darren Aronofsky's next gig is doing the next Wolverine movie. I kind of can't wait to see what he does with that.)



  1. I, too, had a slight problem with the score. It seemed to punctuate the movie a little too on the nose, but I guess that's the point since we are watching a deconstructed ballet. Anyway, it was only a minor problem I had with an otherwise awesome movie.

  2. I think it worked inasmuch as it goes along with the whole motif. A lot of the visuals might seem too on the nose, but when filtered through the idea of ballet, and how much they have to represent visually, it works out better.