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Movie Review: Black Swan (2010) January 19, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Movie Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I find it strange that director Darren Aronofsky calls Black Swan a ‘companion piece’ to his 2008 film The Wrestler (probably my favourite film of that year) because while they are both excellent, they are completely different films.

This one is about a New York ballet production of Swan Lake and the rivalry and obsession between two dancers (played by Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis) that spirals into deadly madness.

I’ve been a fan of Portman since Leon (or The Professional), and this is perhaps her best performance.  It didn’t surprise me that she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress and is the heavy favourite at the Oscars.  The supporting cast was also terrific, in particular Barbara Hershey as the frighteningly overbearing mother.  Vincent Cassel’s sleazy ballet director and Winona Ryder’s ageing dancer were also solid.

Unlike The Wrestler, which is a moving drama, Black Swan is as dark and disturbing a psychological thriller I’ve ever come across.  At times it plays out like a horror film, making the audience squirm in their seats and challenging us not to look away.  It’s a beautiful, atmospheric, chilling, masterfully directed film that kept me at the edge of my seat, even though for much of the 108-minute running time I was struggling to put the pieces together.

As Nate from TheNinthDragonKing said, the movie is at times reminiscent of David Lynch’s wonderful but hugely frustrating Mulholland Drive — except in my opinion Black Swan is less confusing and has an ending that doesn’t disappoint.

4.25 stars out of 5


1. Andre - February 12, 2011

Hi, enjoyed your review. I remember reading that Black Swan was not only a companion piece to The Wresteler but thet, originally, both movies were meant to be one. They do actually deal with many of the same themes.

You make a good point in comparing Black Swan to Mulholland Dr. (or Lost Highway, for that matter). I also saw similarities between this movie and DePalma’s Carrie and Bergman’s Persona; all great movies.

2. Ranking All 2011 Best Picture Nominees « About Writing – The Personal Blog of Pace J Miller - February 28, 2011

[…] 7. Black Swan […]

3. Gabe - March 22, 2011

Are you serious? This was an awful movie. It started out okay, but the ending was badly acted and not the least bit thrilling at all.

pacejmiller - March 23, 2011

Yeah, was serious. Looks like you might be in the minority there. It was nominated for Best Picture and Portman did, after all, win Best Actress.

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