It’s getting towards that time of year when all of the big Oscar contenders are released to audiences. With that in mind I decided to recently sit down and finally watch Black Swan for the first time. You may remember that after its release Black Swan was talked about as a major contender at all awards ceremonies; Natalie Portman’s performance as the main character was well received and she went on to win the Best Actress award at every single ceremony, not a bad performance then.
Natalie Portman plays Nina Sayers, a ballet dancer that lands the lead role in her groups production of Swan Lake. Nina is perfect for the role of the White Swan but the lead role requires Nina to also play the Black Swan and as she becomes more and more like the Black Swan Nina begins to lose her mind. Portman is absolutely fantastic and she really plays the part perfectly, bringing with her this sense of a child-like, virgin pure, naive and innocent young dancer who is thrust into this role and is surrounded by highly charged sexual characters, not least Mila Kunis’s Lily. It is this role that led Mila Kunis to become one of the most desired women in the world and a certain scene with Natalie Portman is to thank for that, but Kunis’ performance on the whole is fantastic although it does seem as though she isn’t really in it that much as the drama focuses heavily on Portman. The leading man in Black Swan was Thomas Leroy, the man running the ballet company, played by Vincent Cassel. With such a strong performance from Portman it is easy to see why everyone else seems to be forgotten but Cassel’s performance was thoroughly enjoyable and he played the part so well and, in terms of how well the part was played, he was my favourite part of the film.
Black Swan was first talked about between Natalie Portman and director Darren Aronofsky back in 2000 so has worked out very well that it eventually became the masterpiece that it deserved to be. The way in which the film is shot is so wonderful, the use of mirrors, costume and colours really enhance the story telling for those looking beyond the surface of the screen. The imagery created by Aronofsky’s direction is superb and the deterioration of Nina’s mind really shines through.
I found the final half an hour of Black Swan to be one of the most enjoyable climax’s (I hate to use that word in the context of this film but it seems unavoidable) I have seen for a while. As a viewer you are always questioning what is real, what is Nina imagining and what is actually happening. And it seems that with every couple of minutes that unfold there is another surprise in store. Nina’s deterioration into madness is superbly shot and incredibly well handled in a way that makes it seem so haunting and disturbing.
Overall Black Swan is a very beautiful film and the whole of the cast puts in performance to be proud of. The only gripe I do have is that it seemed to be a bit of a slow starter and even though it built up suspense towards the end it did seem to lag at times.
My Rating: 8/10.