Firstly I am not much of a fan of Ballet, it looks beautiful, cannot deny that but I have never had the intention to get all dressed up to go see one; it’s been that “I will one go someday, maybe not today though” sort of things in life. I know nothing about Ballet but the trailer immediately got me lured in to the huge crowd of people dying to see it.
It automatically entices you within the first 5 minutes, throwing its first enigma code straight in. Although you hardly hear the beautiful Natalie Portman speak in the first 15 minutes you get this sense of insecurity, compassion for dance and conquest to be the Swan Queen. The cinema verité at the beginning draws the audience in so well that you feel as if you are in it; you are Nina feeling every emotion she feels. In terms of cinematography Matthew Libatique is superb in this film to really capture the emotions of Nina and bring the audience in to the shock and disturbance.
The film concentrates on an extremely dedicated young Ballerina, Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) from New York with a very controlling mother, who dropped her dancing career for Nina, and quite a perverted dance teacher, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel). She wishes to be in the limelight and be the new Swan Queen, after the company’s director, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), replaces his former star and “little princess”, Beth (Winona Ryder), as she has lost the magic needed to light up the audience and the stage. The one to stand out to Leroy is Nina, she is beautiful and perfect for the part of the White Swan, who is innocent and graceful, yet she lacks in her Black Swan, who is more devious and sensual. This is where the new dancer comes in, Lily (Mila Kunis), who is the personification the role of the Black Swan more to the extent Leroy is looking for. Nina tries to convince she can play both parts but he just isn’t so certain.
From here on in the tables start to turn and Nina becomes in touch with her Black Swan shall we say; I won’t ruin it for you as it really is a must-see film but let’s just say it takes you on a devastating, exciting, tense and emotionally draining journey. The thriller aspect of the movie is both deep and captivating. It came to a surprise for me as I felt it came in much later within the film. I feel that Lily really does speed up this thriller process for Nina though, introducing her to drinking, drugs and sex; not part of this innocent girls life. Although she is seen as the one stealing the role of Swan Queen from Nina’s perspective, her intentions to do so are never out in front of you, never really clear.
The score music for the film is magnificently placed; it works on each part as well as the next. Aronofsky directs this film to brilliance through such intense close-ups, again bringing you into Nina’s shoes, ballet shoes at that. As the credits rolled I was still in awe and stunned. I know everyone will be saying this but an Oscar is definitely in order for the terrific portrayal by Natalie Portman.
My only criticism would have to be some of the flaws in camera work, some cuts were too fast for the audience to take in and indulge, the final show of Swan Lake was performed yet we saw very little and mainly shots from waist up; but apart from this the story, the performances and acting was superb.
Result: Overall 9/10, I recommend you go see as soon as you possibly can.