The Fall of the Swan Queen

Black Swan


Director: Darren Aronofsky

Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder, Sebastian Stan, Patrick Heusinger

Darren Aronofsky’s masterpiece is a taut psychological thriller about a prima ballerina who delves into her dark side, so she can perform the complex role of the Swan Queen in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.  Natalie Portman gives a stunning and frenzied performance as Nina Sayers. As well as the physical demands of playing the lead Ballerina in Swan Lake, Nina is trapped in a claustrophobic and co-dependent relationship with her mother, a wonderfully obsessive performance by Barbara Hershey (Portrait of a Lady).

Whilst rehearsing for the final act, the ballet master a seductive and sadistic Thomas played with relish by Vincent Cassel, taunts Nina and reproaches her continually for not bringing out her dark qualities to dance the antithesis of the White Swan, the Black Swan. The fact that Nina is prone to episodes of self-mutilation smothered by her overbearing mother and is generally an exceptional sexually frustrated and fragile young woman who uses dancing to quench her repressive state, makes Black Swan a highly intoxicating psycho sexual thriller set in the bitchy and uncompromising world of ballet.

black_swan_ver6

Aronofsky always has his central characters stripped away to the vicious core, from The Wrestler, where in a break-out performance by Mickey Rourke as a washed up Trailer Park, drug-addicted wrestler angling for a comeback to heroin addicts played by Jennifer Connelly and Jared Leto in Coney Island, who resort to extreme methods for their drugs, as detailed in the inventive and shockingly brutal Requiem for a Dream.

Black Swan is no exception, as Portman gives a ground breaking performance of a Ballerina rapidly losing her grip on reality, delving deeper into her own troubled and shattered psychosis to satisfy the dreams of an obsessed mother who compromised her own stage success.

Black Swan is about the rigours of Ballet training along with the mental deterioration of a young woman driven beyond the edge of sanity, surrounded by a gallery of heinous characters from an overbearing mother, a cruel ballet instructor and a tempting rival, Lily played with an unforgiving relish by Milas Kunis slyly plotting to derail Nina’s debut as the Swan Queen.

This is a classic psychological thriller, from the drab and daunting world of the dance studios, filled with giant mirrors reflecting Nina’s inner torment to the dingy apartment shared with her mother, an entire film bathed in black and white with only the occasional gashes of blood to break the diametric colour palette. Watch out for a great cameo performance by Winona Ryder as the broken ballerina Beth who declines as savagely as Nina’s star rises dramatically. Black Swan is a debut etched in blood and director Aronofsky, like in The Wrestler and Requiem for Dream shows this grueling Ballet world in its entire stripped down depravity, with obsessive dancers driven and searching for a depreciating gratification. A far cry from the graceful triumph associated with Ballet exemplified in such films as The Company and Mao’s Last Dancer.

Comments are closed.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
February 2011
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28  
  • WTFilms Launches ‘Apache: Gang of Paris’ at Unifrance Rendez-Vous
    Paris-based sales agent WTFilms, which specializes in genre movies, is presenting Romain Quirot’s sophomore feature film, “Apache: Gang of Paris,” at the Unifrance Rendez-Vous in Paris. The pic is an ambitious revenge movie set in early 20th century Paris, when rival gangs were wreaking havoc. The term apache was coined in Paris at the time, […]
    Leo Barraclough
  • Gaspar Noe on ‘Vortex’ and the Changing World of Cinema
    Argentine helmer Gaspar Noé’s latest feature “Vortex” world premiered in Cannes, where it was greeted with a standing ovation and critical acclaim. Variety spoke to the director at the Unifrance Rendez-vous in Paris this week about the film. “Vortex,” lensed during the 2020 lockdown, follows an elderly couple in a Paris apartment. Shot entirely in […]
    Leo Barraclough
  • Jordan Cashmyer, ’16 and Pregnant’ Alum, Dies at 26
    Jordan Cashmyer, a woman who was featured on MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” in 2014, died in Maryland on Sunday. She was 26 years old. News of Cashmyer’s death was shared by her mother, Jessica Cashmyer, through a post written on the Facebook account of the late Dennis M. Cashmyer Jr., her husband and Jordan’s father. […]
    J. Kim Murphy
  • Environmental Filmmaker Cyril Dion Plans ‘Animal’ Follow-Up, First Fiction Project ‘Le Grand Vertige’
    Filmmaker and environmental activist Cyril Dion is planning a follow-up documentary to his Cannes-selected documentary “Animal” as well as his first fiction feature film, adapted from Pierre Ducrozet’s eco-themed novel, “Le Grand Vertige.” Dion first rose to international prominence with his 2015 environmental documentary “Tomorrow,” in which he and co-director Mélanie Laurent highlighted important initiatives […]
    Leo Barraclough
  • Olivier Dahan on Simone Veil Biopic ‘Simone, A Woman of the Century’
    Olivier Dahan’s “Simone, A Woman of the Century” completes the trilogy he began with the Edith Piaf biopic “La Vie en Rose,” starring Marion Cotillard, and “Grace of Monaco,” starring Nicole Kidman. Dahan spoke with Variety during the Unifrance Rendezvous in Paris, where the film had its market premiere. “Simone,” starring Elsa Zylberstein (“Un plus […]
    Leo Barraclough
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90