Plot – A committed dancer struggles to maintain her sanity after winning the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”.
Director – Darren Aronofsky
Released – 2011
Possibly the most surprising thing about Aronofsky’s Black Swan is just cool: he makes ballet seem, which is something I never thought would be possible. It also happens to be one of the most interesting and genre-breaking films I have watched so far this year, made all the better by the great central performance from Natalie Portman, who I haven’t seen be this mesmerising since V for Vendetta and wonderful support from the underrated Mila Kunis.
Feeling quite close in tone to Aronofsky earlier film The Wrestler which is interesting as it was reported that before either project came to fruition, he was reportedly working on a project that explored a relationship between a professional wrestler and a ballerina. And while that didn’t come to anything. I like to think that the concept ended up becoming two separate tales, resulting in two wonderful movies, Black Swan, the riskier of the two.
It probably best described as a psychological thriller, it’s hard to place Black Swan in a genre, with elements from horror, thriller and drama all mixing together to produce somewhat of a hybrid. With the story getting gradually darker and more haunting the longer it progresses, leaving you unsure what parts were real and what parts were just another of Ninas (Portman) hallucinations, culminating riveting 40-minute long final act as the Swan Queen becomes the Black Swan just as Nina finally loses her grip on reality.
Black Swan is an amazing and memorable piece of work from beginning to end, one that may just change your mind on how cool ballet can be. One of the more interesting twists of fate is that following this film, both actresses’ next movie was basically the same (No Strings Attached – Portman and Friends With Benefits – Kunis).