Saturday, 29 January 2011
REVIEW: THE BLACK SWAN
Samantha Smith is back with her take on the best choice for this Friday.
15, 108 Minutes. Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, Vincent Cassel. Director: Darren Aronofsky. Screenplay: Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz
& John McLaughlin
'Black Swan' is a dark and thrilling drama based around the ballet production of Swan Lake. When shy, innocent Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is given the role of Swan queen in her ballet company’s production she wants to be perfect. Although everyone including her artistic director and love interest Thomas (Cassel) claim that her beauty and innocence are perfect for the role of the white swan she just isn’t sensual or wild enough to play the black swan as well. When new comer Lily (Kunis) starts attracting Thomas’s attention Nina starts to get in touch with her darker side in a bid to keep her role and her man, but can the gentle and innocent white swan live harmoniously with the dark spirit of the black? Perhaps not…
Visually the film is beautiful; I particularly enjoyed the opening sequence which involved the camera following the feet of Nina whilst performing. The whole film seems to flow and even dance before your eyes as you watch and you can recognise certain cinematic techniques that Aronofsky used a few years ago in his film ‘The Wrestler’, interesting because both films seem to follow a professional who is struggling in their art. The use of filters and lighting to catch the changing moods of the film are also very effective, when the white swan is dancing or when Nina is her normal self the lights are brighter and the film seems softer however, when Nina reveals her darker side or when she seems to be struggling with herself the film takes on a more dangerous and even scary appearance.
I loved the way 'Black Swan’s' central story-line is actually an interpretation of Swan Lake. It makes you feel as though the film makers care about the story their telling. The ballet in the film is also wonderful, lead actresses Portman and Kunis apparently trained in ballet for a year prior to filming, for me the story highlighted the fact that a lot of people see ballet as boring and many dance companies are struggling to get funding so that they can keep on performing. It really wouldn’t surprise me if ballet shows found an increase in attendances this year… particularly if they are putting on Swan Lake. I myself found that I was captivated by the way the dancers moved and the emotion that can be portrayed through the dance, for this reason alone I think Natalie Portman defiantly deserves all the awards she has been nominated for.
In truth I haven’t seen a film that got me this excited in a long time, the story is so different and yet recognisable at the same time, you can relate to Nina and her struggle to succeed and changes she makes to herself in order to be accepted and yet although you will see yourself in the white swan you may also find you see a bit of yourself in the black swan too. Seriously, even if you hate ballet or romance go and see this film I bet that you will be pleasantly surprised. SAMANTHA SMITH.