Review: Black Swan (2010)

This article was published on the original Sorry I’m on 30/01/11.

Black Swan

Director Darren Aronofsky follows up his successful 2009 picture The Wrestler with Black Swan. Both films share similar themes such as the extent performers will go through for their crafts: Black Swan in the bitchy world of ballet, The Wrestler in the underestimated and gruelling world of professional wrestling. Black Swan’s plot revolves around a new production of Swan Lake by an esteemed New York ballet company. The production requires a lead that can portray the dual role of the innocent White Swan as well as the dark, sexual Black Swan. Nina (Natalie Portman) is the ideal White Swan, innocent and faultless in technique; while newcomer Lily (Mila Kunis) has the carefree nature and sensuality ideal for the Black Swan. As the two contest the coveted role, Nina’s dark side is slowly revealed but does it come at the cost of her sanity?

Unlike The Wrestler, which was a fairly straight character profile, Aronofsky twists the narrative of Black Swan by installing various levels of psychological thriller and horror so that we gather a visual interpretation of the decline of Nina’s fragile state of mind. Aronofsky does an excellent job of keeping the ambiguity as to what we are seeing: is it reality, a dream, or perhaps an amalgamation of both? But then occasionally a character will drop a quote which makes you rethink your entire thought process and you are continually trying to decipher the goings on. He has made the kind of film that be can be interpreted entirely different depending on the viewer.


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