With Black Swan I had the same feeling as I had with The Social Network. I was wondering how a movie about a specific subject, in this case ballet, could be interesting. If you check out the dance movies which came out lately you will notice that most of them are targeting a young audience with the drama in those films being equal to the levels you see in your average soap opera. As I try to never watch movie trailers and try to know as little as I can about films in advance, I was in for a big, but very pleasant, surprise.
The first thing I should have done is check out the director. Darren Aronofsky has already made Pi (1998), Requiem for a Dream (2000), The Fountain (2006) and The Wrestler (2008). Although I didn’t really like The Fountain they are all excellent films. With Black Swan Aranofsky shows that he really is a master at his craft. He knows how to tell this story, about a dancer who tries to get the main part in the swan lake, in such a way that I was enchanted by it.
It’s not only the dancing which has been shot beautifully, having the viewer almost dance along with the performances, but he also knows how to add a lot of suspense outside the confines of the theater. There are moments I looked away shortly as some bits were hard to watch. This is because of the use of some horror bits (a genre which is definitely not my thing), which only add to the immersion and will pull you deeper into the story.
Of course it is important that the cast convinces as well. You will not be disappointed as they give stunning performances.
Natalie Portman plays her role of Nina Sayers convincingly and shows a young woman striving for perfection, which in turn also makes her very fragile and uncertain.
I think that Portman is one of the best actresses around at the moment. She was already very convincing in her first role in Leon and it’s something she managed to keep doing in almost all movies she’s in (I’ll forget about her role in Star Wars).
Besides Portman, Mila Kunis plays a dancer, Lily. Both Portman and Kunis show that they are able to dance convincingly (they trained for it for several months).
In the movie they are choreographed by Thomas Leroy (an excellent role by Vincent Cassel, who I knew from the Mesrine movies). Winona Ryder has a small role as the previous best dancer.
Black Swan is a true masterpiece which really impressed me. Despite the fact that it seems to be about ballet, the focus really is on the people and their drive to reach their goals and how far they are willing to go to reach them. The movie already has taken a spot on my favorite movies ever list besides Pulp Fiction and Mr.Nobody). As it is also my movie of the year it’s no surprise I highly recommend it.
Interested in other movies which I’ve awarded a 10?
A complete list can be found here.