Saturday, 29 January 2011

Film Review: BLACK SWAN (2010)

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Running time: 108 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

UK Release date: 21st January 2011

Watched at the cinema Friday 28th November 2010.


Having heard many good things about this film I thought it was about time I checked it out. At first I wasn’t too sure, but as the drama unfolded, I really got into the story and found myself transfixed by the end. But more of my thoughts later, here’s a brief summary first (summary haters please wait in the wings while I write the next paragraph).

Young ballerina Nina Sayers has been chosen to play the lead in Swan Lake. The production’s director, Thomas Leroy, has chosen her because she can play the white Swan perfectly, but he wants her to show more passion when she dances the part of the Black Swan. As she strives to achieve this level of performance we witness quite a dramatic change in her that totally alters her personality. She also has to contend with a rival dancer, Lily, who Thomas has put as her alternate (I guess the equivalent of an understudy in a play). Add to this the decline of Beth Macintyre, an experienced dancer that Nina admired and the attentions of her overbearing mother, Erica, and you can see she has a lot to contend with. Not wishing to give too much away, I’ll leave my brief summary there.

There is much to admire in this film, Darren Aronofsky certainly knows how to get a performance out of his cast. He also knows how to tell a story, I couldn’t fault the filmmaking; it’s great to look at, all topped off with a great performance from Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers. Also worthy of note are; Mila Kunis as Lily, Vincent Cassel as Thomas Leroy, Barbara Hershey as Erica Sayers and Winona Ryder as Beth Macintyre.

I very much like the use of music through this film; the themes from Swan Lake are throughout and only add to the enjoyment of the piece. I love the way the line is blurred between reality and the dark place Nina is trying to find inside herself. All this is brilliantly done, but I have just one problem, I find it very hard to find any likable characters in this film. Although I found myself rooting for Nina at the end, I never really found her character particularly likable. Having said that, it’s still a brilliant film with some great performances and one I highly recommend.

My score: 8.3/10

(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page:
RT Page:
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