Thursday, 20 October 2011

Black Swan Review

Fig 1

Black swan (2010) is directed by Darren Aronofsky and is a very complex and exciting film which was far from what I had expected. It is extremely psychological  and plays with your mind making you wonder what is actually happening. Sure, it's melodramatic and self-important, but Black swan is still a thing of rare terrifying, heartbreaking, surreal, monstrous and downright orgasmic beauty’ (Fennel 2011)

The film provides a wide range of excitement from the wondrously thrilling drama of Nina (Natalie Portman facing her doppelgänger and fighting to keep her sanity, to Nina experimenting her sexuality with her new rival Lilly (Mila Kunis). The film has a very eerie atmosphere with a very bland colour pallet used throughout the film and dark lighting in almost every scene. This is emphasized through the use of mirrors which can be seen often in the back of shots, these mirrors are used because the theme of the film is Nina struggling with her own self conscience and the mirrors allow us to see her facing against herself visually as well.

Frequently heard to whimper that she just wants to be “perfect,” Nina is one tense chick. But, really, who could blame her? Projecting her shadow all over the Upper West Side, the tremulous child is stalked and brutalized onstage and off-, as well as in her dreams; she’s taunted by trolls and hobgoblins as she scurries home to the apartment-cum-haunted-house, a veritable nursery for Rosemary’s baby, that she shares, under the name “Sweet Girl,” with her scary, infantilizing mother (Barbara Hershey, hair pulled tight to pop her eyes and so witchy she should be standing in a pool of Morticia Addams goo).’  (Heldenfels 2010) Nina is one messed up character as she has to contend with a supporting yet jealous mother who gave up her dancing career to have Nina as well as the pressure of wanting to be “perfect” and become the next best dancer at her studio. The strain which she goes through eventually gets to her and she begins to see and do strange things that sometimes don’t actually happen and are in her head, or do happen but we can’t tell how. The final act is when she is in her dressing room getting ready to become the black swan, and sat at her dresser is Lilly and out of anger she drags her out of the char and slams her against a mirror, and stabs her with a shard. After her final act as the black swan, she returns to her dressing room, and a knock on the door reveals Lilly congratulating her on her performance. Lone behold the body has vanished and it turns out she stabbed herself instead.

"Black Swan" does a fine job of exploring not just the prima ballerina competition and the toll it takes on an individual, but also the psyche of a person who most probably has obsessive-compulsive disorder . . . and maybe more. Where did those marks come from? Is it a supernatural force, or just a supercritical one? In truth, it's not that hard to figure out, but like a "Columbo" investigation the fun isn't so much in the puzzle, but in the way it's all put together.’ (Plath 2011) In conclusion I would say that this is a film which has succeeded in becoming a true piece of filmic art as it is very disturbing, eerie, confusing and just plain brilliant.


Plaith, J. (2011) (accessed on 16/10/2011)

Fig 1. Black Swan

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